SUNY Canton Steel Bridge Team Continues Win Streak

The SUNY Canton student steel bridge team once again earned a first-place finish at the 2013 American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Upstate New York Student Conference Championships held at the Rochester Institute of Technology.

This is the 14th time in 17 years that SUNY Canton’s ASCE student chapter has captured the regional title, and their win earns them a spot in the national intercollegiate contest to be held next month at the University of Washington in Seattle, where they will compete against some of the most prestigious schools in the country.


SUNY Canton steel bridge team members Alyssa M. Baker of Boonville, Nathan A. Archer of Canton and William W. Corbine III of Potsdam during a practice session.

“The entire SUNY Canton community is extremely proud of the steel bridge team’s achievement at the regional competition,” said Interim President Carli C. Schiffner. “These talented students are outstanding ambassadors for our school, and we are thrilled that they will be representing SUNY Canton in Seattle next month.”

Co-sponsored by the American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC), the contest challenges future engineers to display their skills in design, fabrication and teamwork by building a one-tenth scale model bridge to meet certain criteria, such as construction speed, lightness and economy. The team completed the construction in 5 minutes and 15 seconds and earned first place in the regional event’s speed subcategory. The team also placed in three other categories:

  • Second place in lightness
  • Second place in construction economy
  • Third place in structural efficiency

Michael J. Verstraete of Marion works on the middle section of SUNY Canton’s steel bridge while Nathan A. Archer of Canton and William W. Corbine III of Potsdam complete their side.

“This year’s bridge is built with speed in mind,” said bridge designer and Civil and Environmental Technology major William W. Corbine III from Potsdam. “Our success relies on an efficient design and a cooperative team.”

In addition to Corbine, the 2013 steel bridge team members are:

  • Nathan A. Archer, an Industrial Technology major from Canton.
  • Alyssa M. Baker, a Civil and Environmental Technology major from Boonville.
  • Briana K. Fosher, an Industrial Technology major from Rouses Point.
  • Laura Pratt, an Engineering Science major from Binghamton.
  • Michael J. Verstraete, a Mechanical Technology major from Marion.
  • Andrew Walker, a Mechanical Technology major from Camden.
  • Dusten S. Wells, a Civil and Environmental Technology major from Mexico, N.Y.
  • Teofilo R. Yerdon, a Graphic and Multimedia Design major from Gouverneur.

Pictured are Dusten S. Wells of Mexico, N.Y. and Andrew Walker of Camden finishing the final portion of SUNY Canton’s steel bridge.

The students began working on the bridge in February and have dedicated countless hours to fine-tuning their skills.

“The students gave up their spring break to prepare for competition,” said Paul D. Hitchman, an instructional support associate and faculty adviser for the team.

Hitchman and co-adviser Dennis E. Tuper help to raise the necessary funds needed to cover the travel and lodging expenses for the team, which are significantly higher than in year’s past due to the national competition’s location. Anyone wishing to make a contribution to the team may contact the SUNY Canton College Foundation at 315-386-7127, 800-811-6727, or email

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