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Profile of the Week

by Archives January 24, 2007

From an early age, Lesley Fascia was fascinated with construction.

“I grew up on a farm with two older brothers and we spent most of our time either fixing things around the place or building things. So I grew up. . . with real wood and real hammers.”

It also helped that her family makes a living out of building.

“My uncles all work in construction, my grandfather spent some time in construction, and my older brother works in construction. . . [but] I wanted to design and learn more so that’s what pretty much put me into civil engineering.”

She’s a third year student, but this is her first year as a member and vice-president external of Concordia’s student chapter of the Canadian Society for Civil Engineering (CSCE Concordia).

Fascia said she joined mostly because she was tired of spending all her time studying. “Engineering is crazy and the only time you get to spend with people you know is when you’re sitting around a textbook.”

“So it was nice to finally get to know people on a different level and try to make some links in life so when I leave the things I remember about school weren’t just math and physics.”

“We do poker nights, we’re a part of frosh, we have movie nights and we had a Christmas and Halloween party. It’s just ways to keep people’s spirits up as time – and exams – go by.”

CSCE Concordia, said Fascia, is open to civil engineering students, but the association also tries to “encompass everybody [in engineering] because it’s so great to share minds.”

A civil engineering student who registers for student membership with the CSCE Concordia can access an exam bank where members store their old work in a filing cabinet for anyone to use for reference. If a non-member would like access to it, they have to contact a CSCE Concordia executive.

The biggest event CSCE puts together is the Troitsky Bridge Building Competition. Since 1984, the university has hosted this international event that brings engineering students, technicians and professors from across the continent to compete.

Teams have to build a bridge out of popsicle sticks, wooden toothpicks, dental floss and glue to pre-set specifications. The bridges are then subject to what’s known as the “Crusher.” Last year’s computer-directed Crusher, which could put up to 6,000 pounds of pressure on a bridge, was retired. This year, they will likely use the 10-ton Capacity Crusher, donated by Mechtronix Inc., to put bridges to the test.

Teams that place first to fifth can win cash prizes while other awards are given out for ‘Most Innovative Bridge Design’, ‘Most Spectacular Crash’, ‘Worst Bridge and Best Newcomer/Rookie of the Contest’. The competition lasts all day, and this year will be held March 2 on the main floor of the Library Building.

Fascia has fond memories of the competition she participated in last year. “I was actually with four of our members now.and we didn’t do to well but had a great time,” laughed Fascia.

“It was amazing to say the least,” said Fascia. “To go there and meet . . . engineers with the same goals in mind, and the same feelings. To do something with what you’ve learnt instead of just getting good marks, to build something and really see what happens was great.”

This year, Fascia is involved in organizing the event and said the association is excited to see how it goes. “It’ll be great to see other people enjoy it the way I did – cross my fingers!”

Overall, when describing the personality of CSCE Concordia, Fascia says, “our group really loves to build things, we love to break things . . . we love to just have a good time.”

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