Competitions Inspire Student Creativity

Competitions Inspire Student Creativity

Student competitions help bring about a student’s best effort by inspiring creativity and challenging the student to utilize their skills. “Competitions are a great way for students to engage in their learning,” said Ben Farrow, Hunt Professor in the McWhorter School of Building Science. “They provide a unique way for students to employ multiple topics learned in the curriculum in a ‘real life’ project and get feedback on their work from the people who actually did the work. It is invaluable to the students that participate in competition teams, and it uniquely prepares them for problems they will face in professional practice.”

According to Farrow, nearly 70 students will participate in seven different competitions (about 12 teams) this academic year, 2015–16. “The Associated Schools of Construction (ASC) conducts competitions in multiple regions. Student teams competed in Greensboro, Dallas, Dublin, and Reno. In addition, our student teams compete through the Design Build Institute of America (DBIA), Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC), and Associated General Contractors (AGC).”

BSCI’s “heavy civil” team of Thomas Yawn, Thomas Rush, Josh Atkinson, Tyler Wells, Jim Harper, Blake Orum, and Ishmael Preer won the ASC (Region 2) competition in Greensboro, North Carolina. The Region 2 competition included schools from Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and Tennessee. The problem presented to the teams involved an infrastructure-oriented public works project that they had to bid on. Coaches for the competition included Professors Mike Hosey, Darren Olsen, Ben Farrow and Anoop Sattineni.

Shadow Competition: ASC Region 2

Maddox Wise was on the winning shadow student competition team, a shortened version of the heavy civil competition for first-time competitors. Most of the competitions involve students closer to graduation. This year’s competition consisted of three teams, each team with four to five students from different schools. The teams, in a room for three hours, had to present their information about a bridge demolition in a 15-minute presentation to a panel of judges.

According to Wise, there was no prior training for the shadow competition, and was a great way to learn how to solve a problem as well as work with students from other universities.

The competitions were held October 28th to October 30th, 2015, at the Sheraton Greensboro Hotel, North Carolina. The competition was sponsored by Kiewit Infrastructure-Heavy Civil and Shadow, Holder-Commercial, McCarthy-Design Build, and Crowder-Open Concrete.

Associated Schools of Construction, Region 8 Competition

Region 8 International Student Competition was held at the Dublin Institute of Technology, Republic of Ireland, on November 19th and 20th, 2015. Region 8 is the international arm of the US-based Associated Schools of Construction, promoting development and advancement of construction education since 1965. Auburn fielded two teams, one coached by Professor Paul Holley, and the other “joint” team coached by Professors Wes Collins (AU) and Angela Kilby of Birmingham City University (BCU), England. Auburn BSCI students Nolan Strom, Carter Schmid, Evan Baker, and Tucker Helms were coached by Holley. Jim Johnson and Blake Struthers (BSCI), and Jack Linehan (former exchange student at BSCI) and Josh Prescott from BCU constituted the second team. The Collins-Kilby team finished second behind Liverpool John Moores University. “Of the eight teams in the competition, three were from U.S. (Auburn, Oklahoma, and Cal Poly), a joint AU-BCU team, and four teams from the UK or Ireland,” added Holley.  The focus of the competition was to renovate the former headquarters of Aer Lingus airlines (located at the Dublin International Airport).