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GeoWall team wins regional competition

NDSU civil engineering students took home top honors from the 2020 Midwest Regional GeoWall Competition held at the University of Minnesota-Duluth Feb. 7-8.

The objective of the competition is to design and build a model retaining wall in an 18” x 26” x 18” wooden box. After being filled with sand, the front face of the box is removed, leaving only a piece of light posterboard paper. By incorporating engineering design elements, the posterboard wall must then withhold a bucket load of 50 pounds in addition to the weight of approximately 800 pounds of sand.

Out of the nine teams that participated, the design report submitted by the NDSU GeoWall team placed first with a score of 47 out of 50 total points. The team also ranked first in the overall competition after earning a total of 288.1 points during the design and construction phases.

The team brings back the coveted Sand Cone Trophy for the second year in a row.

“This marks the first time in the history of the regional competition that any institution has won first place overall twice,” said team faculty adviser Beena Ajmera, assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering, noting the team has only competed in the competition twice. “The GeoWall competitions allows students with hands-on experience in designing a geotechnical engineering structure in a practical environment. For some of the team members, this competition was their introduction to the field allowing them to see what the civil engineering field entails and learning about complex theories in a friendly environment while helping them interact with their peers and seniors at NDSU and throughout the region. It also helped the team build their critical thinking and communication skills.”

The second-place design report was submitted by a team from the University of Manitoba. The South Dakota State University team placed third. Second place overall went to the University of Minnesota Duluth and the University of Manitoba placed third overall.

The NDSU GeoWall Team that submitted the design report consists of team captain and graduate student Kamal Upadhaya, sophomores Travis Radke and Tiffany Meeks, and junior Nicholas Attigah. Senior Ali Glamlouch substituted for Meeks during the competition in Duluth. Sophomore Cameron Dahlin is an alternate team member.

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