Each year the CCEE department presents four Outstanding Senior Awards to students who have demonstrated continued excellence during their undergraduate studies. In addition to the departmental recognition, the students are recognized at the College of Engineering Senior Banquet, held this year on April 24th. The students were also honored at a luncheon hosted by Freese and Nichols.
This year’s awards go to Alexandra Dinwiddie for Scholarly Achievement, Soung Joung Hong for Humanities, Thomas Lewis for Leadership, and John Merrill for Citizenship and Service. CCEE is proud of the accomplishments of these four students and offer our congratulations. Read more from each student below.
2018 Senior Award for Scholarly Achievement
Alexandra ‘Allie’ Dinwiddie is an academic superstar. As a freshman, she was chosen as an elite Park Scholar, one of the most prestigious undergraduate scholarships awarded to NC State students. She says the mentorship she received from the Park Scholarships and University Honors Program encouraged her to add a minor in applied ecology alongside her environmental engineering degree. “My whole family is passionate about the environment. I grew up hiking and spending lots of time outdoors. I want to be at the forefront of implementing change that protects the environment and ensures that people have clean drinking water,” Dinwiddie said.
During the summer of 2016 she participated in CCEE’s RISE program (Research Internship Summer Experience) and investigated how UV rays from sunlight may affect the treatment of contaminants in wastewater at differing depths in the water column. She performed field and laboratory data collection and analyses and presented her findings at the Summer Undergraduate Research Symposium.
Dinwiddie didn’t limit her four years of undergraduate time to academics. She organized and led a service-learning trip to Belize where participants assisted with playground construction and refurbishment at the Belize National Zoo. She served as Co-President of the Wolfpack Environmental Student Association, was a member of Engineers Without Borders, and volunteered at the non-profit Kidznotes. She also spent a summer abroad studying in Austria. “I left Austria with a perspective on different international issues and a greater understanding of how people of all cultures interact, communicate, and attempt to make sense of the human experience independently and together through art and music,” Dinwiddie said.
Dinwiddie plans to volunteer for a year with AmeriCorps and has applied for positions with an environmental program in Vermont that works on water quality and watershed management.
“I had a full ride here to NC State. I’m ready to give back.”
Allie Dinwiddie (BSENE 2018)
2018 Senior Award for Humanities
The recipient of the Senior Award for Humanities, Soung Joung Hong, is of Korean descent, but she was born in Argentina and spent most of her life in Mexico before coming to NC State. Her native language is Spanish, and she is fluent in Korean and English. “Because I have influences from so many cultures, I used to worry that I was misinterpreting people, or missing the correct cultural cues to truly understand what someone was trying to say,” Hong said. “I thought that a few psychology classes might be useful in helping me with interpersonal communication, and understanding human behavior,” she added. A few classes turned into a second major, and she plans to combine her knowledge from her psychology degree with her environmental engineering degree to understand the role that human behavior and human needs play in the success of engineering projects.
“I am passionate about finding ways to clean up the environment, and also about human behavior. I thought a psychology degree in combination with my environmental engineering degree would help, because it allows me to learn about communication without assumptions or misinterpretations.”
Soung Joung Hong (BSENE 2018)
At her internship with Mann+Hummel, an international filtration technology company with an office on Centennial campus, Hong works with both project engineers and in customer outreach to ensure input from end users during product development. She is most interested in finding engineering solutions to provide clean water and clean air.
Hong plans to pursue a Ph.D. at some point, but for now she wants to work in the field a few years to gain a better understanding of what facets of environmental engineering interest her most.
2018 Senior Award for Leadership
According to Thomas Lewis, it wasn’t until the latter half of his Junior year that he began to develop his leadership skills.
“I developed into someone willing to take on projects, and developed the skills and drive to try new things, and see what I could make happen.”
Thomas Lewis (BSCE 2018)
Lewis served as President of the Construction Managers Association of America (CMAA) which meant that he also had a position on the Student Advisory Board (SAB) for the CCEE department. Lewis took the lead on finding a way for firms with ties to the department to better reach students. “I learned to listen to all perspectives, evaluate the most valuable portions of those perspectives, and then integrate them into the overall plan,” Lewis explains. He also held a leadership role during the campus event known as Shack-A-Thon, which is a fundraiser for the campus chapter of Habitat for Humanity. “We had to design, order and obtain the materials, then build it,” Lewis said. It was a good fit for a construction engineering major, with a passion for construction management. “I grew up in it,” Lewis relays. Both his parents are graduates of CCEE. During his high school years, he worked during the summers for Beam Construction, a North Carolina firm his grandfather began over 90 years ago, which is today run by his Mother and Uncle.
Lewis has accepted a position with Holder Construction in Salt Lake City, Utah, where his initial duties will include working on the Salt Lake City airport terminal project.
2018 Senior Award for Citizenship and Service
As early as his freshman year, John Merrill found a way to combine his engineering and humanitarian interests by joining the NCSU Chapter of Engineers Without Borders (EWB-NCSU). That year he became involved with the chapter’s Sierra Leone Water Project, and the next year he was appointed as the team’s international Project Manager. “The opportunity to have tangible and transformative impacts through international development drew me to EWB-NCSU,” Merrill said. He led a twenty-person team through the design, and construction of a potable water system for a school in Sierra Leone. In early 2017 he traveled to West Africa with a seven-person team to oversee the drilling of a water supply well and installation of a hand pump. For the first time, 700 students and teachers at a community school had access to clean water for drinking, sanitation, and hygiene needs. In May 2018, just days after he graduates, he’ll again travel to Sierra Leone to implement the design and installation of a solar-powered pumping, storage, and water distribution system.
In addition to the rigorous demands of his academic work, and his involvement in EWB, Merrill has also worked as an undergraduate research assistant and has been involved in testing household water filters for removal of contaminants found in North Carolina drinking water.
“I am very grateful to have attended a university that has provided such enriching opportunities for me to develop as an engineer, researcher, and leader while conducting work that is beneficial to local and global communities.”
John Merrill (BSENE 2018)
Merrill has accepted a position with Geosyntec in their Oakland, California, offices where he will be working on solutions for industrial and emerging contaminants. “I am interested in graduate school, but for now I am very excited about developing an understanding of current practices within the consulting realm,” Merrill said.