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Franko Receives 2019 Compass Award

April 17, 2019

Maria Franko, who is graduating with a BS in Civil Engineering and MS in Environmental Engineering, is the recipient of the 2019 Compass Award, which recognizes exemplary students from the senior class who, during their time on campus, have demonstrated a true dedication to a core set of values: leadership, volunteerism, academic integrity, and commitment to Northeastern. Students who display strength in these values demonstrate to us that they are on a path to alumni leadership.

Source: Alumni Relations

Driven. Meticulous. Hardworking. Collaborative—all words to describe Maria Franko. Poised to graduate with a Master of Science in Environmental Engineering, and a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering with a minor in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, Maria has proven herself to be a motivated leader in Northeastern’s engineering community.

Maria’s contributions are exemplified by her involvement in Northeastern’s Engineers Without Borders (EWB) group. Joining the organization early in her undergraduate journey, Maria participated in a project to repair and modify existing drinking water distribution infrastructure in Uganda, and quickly rose to leadership. Over the years, Maria has served as secretary, program design lead, and most recently, president. Through her work, Maria has fostered measurable increases in quality of life and health in rural communities in Uganda, Honduras, and Panama.

As president, Maria focused on furthering the organization’s goals. She led the largest team in Northeastern EWB’s history—a diverse group of 16 officers and 120 student members—in advancing fundraising and growing international trips. Maria also sought to improve involvement by expanding the executive board, and creating four additional roles, which provided leadership opportunities to underclass students, encouraging them to become team players and more confident engineers.. This effort was critical to the student group’s dual mission of offering transformative experiences to its members, and completing projects abroad.

Maria has consistently demonstrated a fierce commitment to the organization’s mission, and has worked tirelessly to help other students grow into leadership and technical engineering roles. She has also served on executive boards of other student groups within the College of Engineering, including the American Society of Civil Engineers (vice president, treasurer), Chi Epsilon Civil Engineering Honor Society (president, secretary), and the New England Water Environment Association (event coordinator).

Maria’s mentors say, “She pays attention with a unique intensity and is always an active participant in discussions. She demonstrates an understanding of environmental problems, not only from a technological standpoint, but also as an active and informed citizen. She boldly asks questions to gain a deeper understanding, and shows enthusiasm for all she does.”

After graduation, Maria will join the Water Resources team at Kleinfelder—a former co-op placement—as a consultant. She will collaborate on projects ranging from water and wastewater treatment, to stormwater management.