UMKC Student Engineering Team Wins First at National Competition

Competitors design, build and test a concrete beam

A team from the University of Missouri-Kansas City has won first place in a national-level student engineering design competition.

The Precast/Prestressed Concerte Institute announced on Monday that a UMKC team had placed first in their 2021 Big Beam Competition.

The competition, now in its 21st year, teaches college students important structural engineering skills in an applied learning environment. Teams of students with a faculty advisor design, build and test a 20-foot, precast, prestressed concrete beam.

Entries are judged on a variety of criteria, including the beam's performance in stress tests. The tests simulate real-life conditions structural building and infrastructure components must endure to ensure safety, as well as the quality of their analysis, reports and overview of their project.

The winning UMKC team included two students, Jose Luis Ramirez and Juan Carlos Plasencia Chinchay, and Ganesh Thiagarajan, Ph.D., professor of civil & mechanical engineering, faculty advisor for the team.

Plasencia Chinchay said the team was very happy with how things turned out and thanked Thiagarajan for encouraging them to participate.

"It is a great experience just to participate in this outstanding competition," Thiagarajan said. "I have coaxed and encouraged students to participate in it just for the learning experience alone, which itself adds so much to the overall prestressed concrete knowledge of students."

In addition to the first-place team, UMKC had a second team place in the top 10. Students Nick Shifflett, Logan Chamberlin, Christopher Bryan and Cristobal Hernandez placed seventh.

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