USU students receive Water Environment Association of Utah awards

USU students and WEAU scholarship recipients, from left, Daniel Ryan and Morris Demitry are congratulated by WEAU president and USU alum Dru Whitlock ’97, senior manager with CH2M Hill in Salt Lake City.

LOGAN – Two Utah State University engineering students are 2013 recipients of scholarship awards offered by the Water Environment Association of Utah and, for the first time since the program’s 2003 inception, the Aggies captured both the undergraduate and graduate level prizes.

Morris Demitry, a doctoral student in environmental engineering, was honored with the Dr. Robert W. “Bob” Okey Scholarship at the graduate level, while undergraduate environmental engineering student Daniel Ryan received the undergraduate level award. Both students received $3,000 scholarships in a ceremony held Nov. 12 during the WEAU Mid-Year Conference in Salt Lake City.

“We’re extremely proud of Morris and Danny, who have made outstanding achievements in their respective research projects and studies,” says Michael McFarland, associate professor in USU’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, WEAU board member and faculty mentor to both students.

Demitry, who earned a master’s degree in environmental engineering from USU in 2011, is evaluating the potential of enhanced energy production from municipal wastewater treatment plants. He is currently working with Utah’s Central Weber Sewer Improvement District on a project to enhance biogas from co-digestion of municipal sludge and food waste that can be used for electricity production.

Ryan, who will complete his bachelor’s degree in May 2014, is an active member of USU’s Engineers Without Borders chapter and serves as president of USU’s WEAU student chapter. Utah State’s WEAU chapter is currently involved in a number of projects, including outreach to K-12 students.

“We’re grateful to College of Engineering Dean Christine Hailey, who has provided guidance and encouragement for USU’s WEAU chapter,” says McFarland, advisor to the student chapter. “Membership in the association offers outstanding educational activities for our students, as well as opportunities to network with professionals.”

Established in 1957, the WEAU is Utah’s state affiliate of the national Water Environment Federation. The federation is comprised of water quality professionals including public works staff, treatment plant operators, engineers, scientists and planners working to preserve and enhance water quality and the global water environment.

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