UA Little Rock ASCE student chapter takes first place in conference category

Heather Hightower won first place in the professional paper and presentation category of the 2017 ASCE Deep South Student Conference.

Heather Hightower

The University of Arkansas at Little Rock College of Engineering and Information Technology is proud to announce its student chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) as winner of a category during the 2017 ASCE Deep South Student Conference.

Accompanied by faculty advisor Nickolas Jovanovic, a total of 22 students represented UA Little Rock in this year’s conference hosted by the University of Memphis. With the help of chapter president, Heather Hightower of construction management, UA Little Rock secured the first place title in the professional paper and presentation category.

During the competition, Hightower submitted a 2,000 word paper and gave a five minute oral presentation on the topic, “Is it ethical for university engineering faculty to teach technical subject matter to engineering students without obtaining professional licensure?” to a panel of professional engineers.

She was awarded a $200 cash prize for her work and received exceptional commentary from Deep South judges.

UA Little Rock students competed against several surrounding universities including Arkansas State University, University of Mississippi, Louisiana Tech University, and the University of Memphis.

Out of the 14 schools to compete, UA Little Rock was one of six universities to take home a first place title.  

Breaking the university’s record with such a large number of attendees, UA Little Rock’s ASCE student chapter was able to participate in all six conference events for the first time.

As a fairly new organization, established in November 2013, the UA Little Rock ASCE student chapter exceeded expectations in a number of ways, including constructing and presenting a concrete canoe for the first time.

UA Little Rock students who were instrumental in helping prepare for this year’s conference, along with Hightower, were treasurer Magen Schlesier of civil and construction engineering and conference coordinator, Vianca Martin of civil and construction engineering.

Competition team members included:

Concrete Canoe
Team Captain Blake Johnston, civil and construction engineering
Assistant Sam Kincannon, civil and construction engineering
Manvill Allen, civil and construction engineering
Amanda Hall, construction management
Harrison Hayworth, civil and construction engineering
Hunter Hobby, civil and construction engineering
Palmer Lane, civil and construction engineering
Magen Schlesier, civil and construction engineering
Logan Snapp, civil and construction engineering
Jorge Vasquez, civil and construction engineering

Steel Bridge
Team Captain Casey Baker, civil and construction engineering
Assistant Jonathan Henderson, civil and construction engineering
Nicole Compton, civil and construction engineering
David Greenwood, civil and construction engineering
Dee Osieczko, civil and construction engineering
Jonny Picking, civil and construction engineering

Team Captain William Beggs, construction management
Natasha Carlson, construction management
Jose Garcia, construction management

Kassandra Castrillo, environmental engineering

Professional Paper & Presentation
Heather Hightower, construction management

Next year’s Deep South Student Conference will be hosted by the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.

To join or sponsor UA Little Rock’s ASCE student chapter, contact President Heather Hightower at or faculty advisor Nickolas Jovanovic at



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