YSU's first-ever all-woman Concrete Canoe team wins regionals; Steel Bridge squad also heads to nationals

Concrete Canoe
YSU Concrete Canoe team members, from left, are Jersey Gorby, Brooke Valley, Emma Minamyer and Taylor Greathouse (Jillian Penman missing from photo).

Two teams of Youngstown State University engineering students, including the university’s first all-female squad, scored top prizes in two premier regional engineering competitions and now advance to take their shot at national championships.

YSU’s Concrete Canoe team placed first at the Ohio Valley Student Conference’s competition and qualifies for the national event hosted by University of Wisconsin-Platteville in June. 

The competition, sponsored by the American Society of Civil Engineers, requires teams to design and construct a seaworthy canoe made entirely of concrete. The regional event was held virtually this year, as will the national contest. 

YSU team members are seniors Jillian Penman, Taylor Greathouse, Brooke Valley and Emma Minamyer and sophomore Jersey Gorby, the first all-female Concrete Canoe team at YSU. 

“The Civil Engineering program is proud to represent women in engineering and their outstanding accomplishments,” said Anwarul Islam, YSU professor of Civil Engineering and faculty advisor. “These students not only represent YSU in the regional and national platforms, they are also at the top of their academic achievement being in the top 5 percent of their classes.”

Penman, Greathouse, Valley and Minamyer graduate this Spring with bachelor’s degrees in Civil Engineering. YSU also won the regional Concrete Canoe competition in 2018, advancing to place fifth in the national contest. 

Steel bridge
Steel Bridge team member Matt Hone.

Meanwhile, a team of six YSU students placed first at the Ohio Valley Student Steel Bridge Competition, qualifying for the national event in June. It is the fifth consecutive year that YSU has won the regional competition, sponsored by the American Institute of Steel Construction. 

This year’s team consists of juniors Drew House (captain) and Matt Hone and sophomores Jersey Gorby, Raymond Kaso, Kenneth Vigorito and Jared Koenig. 

The  competition, which involves the design, fabrication, construction and testing of a steel structure under certain specifications, was held virtually this year, with teams submitting videos of their official bridge build and load test. “The presence of the virus made everything more complicated this year, but in the end, diligence and hard work paid off,” Islam said. The team placed first overall and in several categories, including Construction Speed, Lightness, Construction Economy and Efficiency.