NEWEA Member Success Story: Nick Tooker

NEWEA’s Giving Task Force set out to develop a collection of stories based on asking members a simple question: “How has NEWEA helped your education, career or community?” This is one of those stories.

Name: Nick Tooker, P.E.

Title: Professor of Practice, Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering, UMass Amherst. Faculty co-advisor and mentor for the UMass Amherst Engineers Without Borders, 2019-20

NEWEA member since 2006

Chair, Student Activities Committee

Founding member and coordinator of the first “Poo & Brew” events (2015)

How has NEWEA helped your education, career and/or community?  

As Chair of the Student Activities Committee, I’ve had the chance to help the Committee achieve its three main goals:

  1. Connect students with the Association and foster student membership
  2. Support the creation and the activities of student chapters
  3. Organize Undergraduate competitions and Graduate technical sessions

The Student Activities Committee hosts two competitions that are both critical to engaging students in the water profession and connecting students with professionals. Both the Poster Competition at the Annual Conference and the Student Design Competition have seen record turnout in the past year, and we hope to continue promoting these competitions to continue growing them.

Nick Tooker presents the first place prize to the winning team at the 2019 Student Poster Competition. Photo Credit: Cindy Loo.

In addition, at the 2020 Annual Conference, we partnered with the Innovation Task Force to hold a student “shark tank” competition where student researchers pitched their research ideas with an eye toward bringing those ideas to market. Finally, we have been partnering with the Young Professionals Committee to organize and co-host a Poo & Brew event once per semester. This has been instrumental in helping connect students with professionals in the region.

In 2020, we had two Student Design Teams who both got second place at the WEFTEC competition in their respective categories! So it’s now four years in a row that we’ve had a NEWEA team that has placed at the WEFTEC design competition! If we had more funds, we could do a better job of supporting the winning teams for the Student Design Competition. It is a constant struggle to find funding to support our teams with their travel to the national competition.

I think that many students could get value from being involved with NEWEA so I’m always happy to figure out good ways to improve that.”

If you would like to support the efforts of NEWEA members like Nick and programs like those of the Student Activities Committee, please visit our Donations page today. By making a contribution to NEWEA, you are investing in our region’s water quality and supporting essential water workers.

What’s your story? If you have a story to share, please fill out a brief form on  or contact Jordan Gosselin, Communications/PR Coordinator

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