As part of an ongoing effort to enhance outreach to students, NEWEA has been scheduling Executive Committee Meetings at colleges and universities, specifically at institutions from which our committee chairs and Executive Committee members graduated. These meetings have been introduced with the intention of increasing networking between NEWEA’s members and leadership and students majoring in environmental sciences, engineering, and other water related fields.
In November 2018, select NEWEA committee chairs gathered at Roger Williams University in Bristol, RI and presented to a room full of engineering and environmental studies students. These NEWEA members discussed their career paths, their experience as water professionals, and the benefits of a career in the water industry. Following their presentations, students were given the opportunity to meet with NEWEA’s members and network, hear advice on job searching, and receive guidance on navigating their career.
As a result of being introduced to NEWEA at this meeting, Evan Raffi, pictured to the left, and a team of fellow Roger Williams students, comprised of Annelise Boylan, Daniel Petrovic, Andrew Gaughan, and Tarek Aldawalibi (pictured below), learned about the opportunity for undergraduate students to present research and capstone projects during the Undergraduate Student Poster Competition at the Annual Conference & Exhibit, NEWEA’s premier event.
This team of students joined over 2,000 other water professionals at the 2019 Conference, which took place from January 27-30, and presented Community Based Capstone Project: A Study and Reflection on Stormwater Management Maintenance. Following a day of sharing their work with attendees and judges, Student Activities Committee chair Nick Tooker presented the team of Roger Williams students with the award for Best Undergraduate Student Poster.
Additionally, Evan’s introduction to NEWEA has led to a post graduate job. Jenn Lachmayr, Amy Anderson, and Kate Edwards of Arcadis, all pictured above, were among those in attendance at Roger Williams in November, where they met Evan. Their conversations led to an interview, which led to Evan’s first post-grad job. When he graduates in May, he will join the Arcadis’ Water Division in their Wakefield, MA office as a Water Resources Engineer.
“When the knowledgeable professionals had the opportunity to speak about their job roles and participation in the association, I instantly gained a passion for learning more about NEWEA and the water industry,” says Evan. “This passion only increased when I had the opportunity to present my undergraduate research and design project at the NEWEA Annual Conference with my team from RWU. At the conference I received a warm welcome from many future co-workers at Arcadis, where I am very thrilled to be starting my engineering career with such a helpful and dedicated team.”
The opportunities presented to Evan, as well as the rest of the Roger Williams students who attended their first Annual Conference, illustrate the successes of this emerging student outreach program. NEWEA hopes to develop this program and expand into new schools throughout New England. This expansion will grow the Student Membership and, ultimately, the population of Young Professionals entering the water industry, thereby contributing to workforce development initiatives that have been a focus for NEWEA in recent years.