SUNY Canton Students Cement Second Place in American Concrete Institute Competition


SUNY Canton made a remarkable showing at the recent American Concrete Institute (ACI) Fiber Reinforced Polymer (FRP) Composites Competition, taking home a second-place national finish, and securing eighth place internationally.

Waleed Sardar levels off a concrete cylinder.

SUNY Canton was one of about 40 teams to enter the competition held October 29 in Boston, Mass., which focuses on designing, constructing, and testing concrete structures. It was the first time students from the college’s renowned Canino School of Engineering Technology entered the competition.

Saeid Haji Ghasemali, Ph.D., an associate professor who teaches in the Civil and Environmental Engineering Technology program, integrated the challenge into a course, providing students with the opportunity to test their knowledge in a real-world setting.

Saeid Haji Ghasemali showcases a concrete cylinder as students look on.

"SUNY Canton’s four-person team undertook the entire project lifecycle, from designing a concrete structure with glass FRP reinforcement, considering factors like structural integrity and cost-effectiveness, to constructing it based on their specifications,” Haji Ghasemali said. “The structure was then rigorously load-tested to evaluate its performance, showcasing their comprehensive skills in action."

The primary competition objective to optimize design and construction methods to balance the cost of materials with the structure's load-bearing capabilities. Achieving a successful ratio indicated efficient resource utilization and cost-effectiveness, which are essential in real-world construction projects.

Students developed their own proprietary formula and process to be competitive with assistance from Andrew L. Reiter, an instructional support assistant for the program. “Mr. Reiter played a crucial role in the team's success by assisting in construction, providing materials, and guiding the students through the intricate process of building concrete beams and breaking test cylinders,” Haji Ghasemali said.Emma Kielmeier pours material into a cylinder cast.'

In addition to providing hands-on experience directly related to the construction industry, students are challenged to be innovative and demonstrate their problem-solving abilities. The competition also emphasized sustainable design concepts, which are increasing important in the industry.

Michael J. Newtown, Canino school of Engineering Technology dean, said the team’s impressive initial performance was indicative of the students’ prospects for employment.

“By design, SUNY Canton employs faculty and staff with real-world professional knowledge to help students prepare for their careers,” said Newtown. “Our students demonstrated our commitment to fostering excellence and preparing them for successful careers.”

Civil and Environmental Engineering Technology students who represented SUNY Canton at the ACI FRP Composites Competition included Cameron J. Hodson of Potsdam and Waleed Safdar of Brooklyn. Other participants on the team were Emma L. Kielmeier of Pyrites and Lucas Roy of Canton.

About SUNY Canton

As Northern New York's premier college for career-driven bachelor's degrees, associate degrees and professional certificate programs, SUNY Canton delivers quality hands-on programs in engineering technology, management, and healthcare fields. It is home to the Center for Criminal Justice, Intelligence and Cybersecurity. Faculty members are noted for their professional real-world experience in addition to outstanding academic credentials. As SUNY's leader in online education, SUNY Canton OnLine offers hundreds of flexible and convenient courses as well as 23 online degree programs. The SUNY Canton Kangaroos 15 traditional athletic teams compete at the NCAA Division III level as part of the North Atlantic Conference. SUNY Canton also features varsity esports and cheerleading.