Students Walk Away from Design Competition with Real-world Skills

January 28, 2019

Featured

Pono Hanson, chair of the WEFTEC Student Design Competition

Photo courtesy of Pono Hanson.

Photo courtesy of Pono Hanson.


Pono Hanson is a project manager at Brown and Caldwell (Walnut Creek, Calif.) in Alexandria, Va. He has been a member of the Water Environment Federation and Chesapeake Water Environment Association since 2012. He currently serves as a member of the WEF Collection Systems Committee and a member of the WEF Students and Young Professionals Committee.

As a registered professional engineer, Hanson earned a bachelor’s degree in civil and environmental engineering from University of Portland (Ore.) and a master’s degree in environmental engineering from Johns Hopkins University (Baltimore). He was previously a student leader of Engineers Without Borders (Denver).

At WEFTEC® 2018, teams from the University of British Columbia (Vancouver) and University of Colorado, Boulder, walked away from the Student Design Competition as winners. The competition, a Water Environmental Federation (WEF; Alexandria, VA) Students and Young Professionals Committee program, provides students with real-world design experience.

A Student Design Competition judge asks student teams questions after their presentation at WEFTEC. Photo courtesy of Oscar and Associates.

A Student Design Competition judge asks student teams questions after their presentation at WEFTEC. Photo courtesy of Oscar and Associates.

WEF student members interested in pursuing an education and/or career in water and wastewater engineering and sciences are invited to take part in the competition as individuals or on teams. They are tasked with demonstrating their ability to assess potential fixes, develop a comprehensive design, and present a solution that meets the requirements of a problem statement through both a written report and an oral presentation at WEFTEC. The competition promotes interests and skills that will prove to be extremely valuable as students enter the professional world.

A crowd gathers to see which teams earned top spots in the 2018 Student Design Competition. Photo courtesy of Oscar and Associates.

A crowd gathers to see which teams earned top spots in the 2018 Student Design Competition. Photo courtesy of Oscar and Associates.

The University of British Columbia (Vancouver) team, representing the British Columbia Water and Waste Association, won first-place in the water environment category with their project, “Ellis Creek Remediation.” Other teams who placed in the category were the University of Tennessee, Knoxville in second place; Northeastern University (Boston) in third place; and National University of Singapore in fourth place.

The University of Colorado, Boulder team, representing the Rocky Mountain Water Environment Association, won first place in the wastewater category with their project, “Enhancing Nutrient Removal at Boulder’s 75th Street Wastewater Treatment Facility.” This marked the second consecutive win for the university team that also placed first in the wastewater design portion of the 2017 Student Design Competition. Other teams that earned top rankings in the category this year were the University of South Florida (Tampa) and Utah State University (Logan), that tied for second place, and the University of Idaho (Moscow) in fourth place.

Jackie Jarrell (left), Water Environment Federation (Alexandria, Va.) 2018-2019 president-elect, stands with the Student Design competition wastewater category winners. Photo courtesy of Pono Hanson.

Jackie Jarrell (left), Water Environment Federation (Alexandria, Va.) 2018-2019 president-elect, stands with the Student Design Competition winners in the wastewater category. Photo courtesy of Pono Hanson.

Since the competition began with the help of the Florida Water Environment Association at WEFTEC 2002, it has continued to grow annually. This year brought a record-setting 23 teams from 22 different schools, representing 20 WEF Member Associations and 3 different countries.

 Jarrell (left) stands with the 2018 Student Design competition environmental category winners. Photo courtesy of Hanson.

Jarrell (left) stands with the 2018 Student Design competition environmental category winners. Photo courtesy of Hanson.

Greeley and Hansen (Chicago), Black & Veatch (Overland Park, Kan.), CDM Smith (Boston), and the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (Madison) sponsored the 2018 competition. This year, WEF President-Elect Jackie Jarrell from Charlotte (N.C.) Water announced and presented the awards to the winning teams.

If you are interested in learning more about the competition or getting involved, contact Pono Hanson, chair of the WEFTEC Student Design Competition, at PHanson@BrwnCald.com.

Pono Hanson, WEF Students and Young Professionals Committee

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