ASCE Student Conferences: Competing vs. Judging

There’s a saying that “Winning isn’t everything.”  I’d argue that the mindset as a competitor would say – yes, that’s true, “winning isn’t everything – it’s the only thing.”  Now looking back at the project, and as a judge, I’d say the mindset is yes, “winning isn’t everything – it’s the journey you take and the experiences you have throughout the project that is the true reward.”  At the time of being a competitor, you may not realize it, but there is so much you learn that you will carry with you as you graduate and move into the industry.

-Andrew Brunton

Many members of ASCE start as Student Members.  As we become Younger Members and transition to Professional Members, it’s easy to forget why we joined ASCE in the first place.  We start to lose touch with the young, vibrant student body as the years go by. In my opinion, the best way to regain this contact is by judging student conferences.  It’s a fun and eye-opening experience, but there are some distinct differences between participating in student conferences and being a judge.

Determining where to place the load on a steel bridge (Photo Credit: Matt Ravaglioli)

To put this blog together, I asked for input from people who have participated and judged in various student competitions across the nation. I would like to thank Renee Whittenberger, Jeremy Chrzan, Danielle Steinmetz, Robert Coomes, and Andrew Brunton for their input! In that mix we’ve got a national steel bridge judge, local steel bridge & concrete canoe judges, past concrete canoe & steel bridge participants, and a member of the Committee on National Concrete Canoe Competitions.  Between the five of them, I got so much great information that I decided to break the blog into three segments:

What’s the Biggest Difference between Competing and Judging?

Pros and Cons of Judging

Advice for First Time Judges

If you’re interested in becoming a judge, there is always a need for local judges! There are 18 different regional conferences that host student competitions each spring.  The conferences, host schools, dates, and contact info are all listed on the ASCE Student Conferences website.  You can also send me an email and I can get you in contact with someone who can help!

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