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Civil and Environmental Engineering Students Win ACEC Scholarships
Five Northeastern Civil and Environmental Engineering students, Natasha Leipziger Mundis, Taylor Labbe, Elise Papazian, Nicholas Brunetto, and Jean Iona, recently won scholarships through ACEC, the American Council of Engineering Companies. The group, which represents thousands of engineering businesses, aims to “strengthen the business environment for [their] member firms through government advocacy, political action, and business education.” ACEC scholarships award students who show exceptional academic and extracurricular success in engineering. Having won regional scholarships, the students are eligible to compete for a national ACEC award.
Natasha, BS/MS Civil Engineering ’21, was drawn to the major due to her childhood fascination with bridges. Growing up in The Hague, Netherlands, she had early exposure to state-of-the-art bridges in a country known for its world-class transportation systems. While at Northeastern, she has translated her classroom knowledge into real-world experience through her first co-op at Jacobs Engineering. “At Jacobs, I worked in the bridges department, and was able to help with drafting and some basic design for different projects for MBTA and MassDOT,” Natasha said. Her work also involved writing bridge inspections reports for MassDOT. Beyond her classroom studies, she works under the direction of Department Chair and CDM Smith Professor Jerome Hajjar, participating in his research on composite systems.
Natasha is extensively involved in student life. A member of the Steel Bridge Club, she served on last year’s build team. This year, she is working as a resident assistant, supervising the Women in Engineering community in Stetson West. “I am also a Husky Ambassador, and love to engage with prospective students and families,” she said.
Taylor Labbe, BS/MS Environmental Engineering ’21, won regional ACEC scholarships in both Massachusetts and her native state of Rhode Island. Taylor chose to study environmental engineering because of the vital importance of the profession to our everyday lives. “I believe it is one of the most tangible ways to make a lasting impact in the daily lives of those living within your community,” she said. Currently, she is working with Associate Teaching Professor Annalisa Onnis-Hayden to explore alternative water treatment methods using tidal-flow constructed wetland systems. Taylor has completed two co-ops; the first at Pare Corporation in Lincoln, RI, and an upcoming position in the water resource division of Kleinfelder’s Boston office. After graduation, she plans to work in consulting, before eventually pursuing a PhD in Environmental Engineering.
Elise Papazian, BS Environmental Engineering ’21, recently won an ACEC RI scholarship. Elise has always been passionate about sustainability and the environment, stating, “I don't see many endeavors more worthwhile than solving the world's climate and environmental related issues.” She has completed one co-op at The Morin-Cameron Group, INC in Danvers, MA, and will be going on global co-op to Armenia in the fall to work with solar energy company Optimum Energy. Elise is very involved on campus, including the Engineers Without Borders Panama group, the Armenian Student Association, and Kappa Delta sorority. Elise is considering going to graduate school in the field of public health following graduation.
Nicholas Brunetto, BS/MS Civil Engineering, won an ACEC MA scholarship. Nicholas is concentrating in Transportation Engineering, a passion stemming from his experiences with public transit in his hometown of San Diego. “I wanted to figure out a way to make mass transit and other transportation alternatives more feasible in places where suburban sprawl has forced everyone to be a car owner,” he said. He has completed co-ops at HDR and Parsons, focused on roadway design, and is currently on co-op at Jacobs Engineering working in their highway group. Outside of the classroom, Nicholas is a mentor for first-year engineering students, a husky ambassador, and a member of the civil engineering honor society Chi Epsilon. After graduation, he plans to work in consulting before potentially pursuing a PhD.
Jean Inoa, BS/MS Civil Engineering ’22, won an ACEC RI scholarship. Jean’s interest in architecture and bridges led him to the major. Jean is involved in many different organizations on campus, including the National Society of Black Engineers, the Northeastern Black Student Association, the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers, the American Society of Civil Engineers, and the Luis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation. In addition, he serves on the executive board for the Black Engineering Student Society. Jean has previously done research with CDM Smith Professor and Chair Jerome Hajjar in the STReSS laboratory. He also traveled to Shanghai Jiao Tong University in China to research low-impact development. Jean would like to work on large projects such as skyscrapers or mega bridges after graduation.