UALR students win mystery challenge at civil engineering conference

A group shot of the UALR students who attended the conference.

A team of UALR civil and construction engineering students won the mystery challenge competition at the American Society of Civil Engineers Deep South Student Conference March 10-12 at McNeese State University in Lake Charles, Louisiana.

Norbert Rungano, Chloe Jerry, Heather Hightower, and Ross Phillips were designated for the mystery challenge without prior knowledge of what would be expected of them.

This year’s event required each team to design and erect a tower made from unconventional structural materials: uncooked spaghetti and marshmallows.

“When our event time initially started, we were all working separately,” said Hightower. “It was when we started working on one piece together that we got a stable piece going.”

The UALR team built the tallest tower, beating teams from schools such as Louisiana State University, Ole Miss, and Arkansas State University.

“This event taught me that though individual ideas can lead to the ultimate goal, communication and teamwork are what is needed to accomplish a goal,” said Hightower.

Other students who attended the conference include Cerise Ingani, Julian Castillo, Marie Fidele Kabera, Matt Mitchell, Tim Yu, Abdulaziz Alanazi, and Justice Wagnon.

Travel expenses for the UALR team were provided by a generous donation of $5,000 from the Arkansas section of the American Society of Civil Engineers.

The American Society of Civil Engineers sponsors 18 regional conferences across North America. The Deep South Student Conference includes 14 civil engineering programs in Arkansas, Tennessee, Mississippi, and Louisiana.

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