Allison St. Vincent receives scholarship at MIT-hosted BSCES Student Night
By Denise Brehm
Civil & Environmental Engineering
Junior Allison St. Vincent won the $5,000 Simpson Gumpertz & Heger Scholarship on April 7 at the annual “Student Night” of the Boston Society of Civil Engineers Section (BSCES) of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE).
The event, hosted by students in MIT’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and sponsored by the department, brought together more than 60 engineers from industry and Boston-area universities for dinner at the MIT Faculty Club.
This year the engineering firm Simpson Gumpertz & Heger awarded its annual scholarship for the best essay proposing how the civil engineering industry can address environmental concerns in a global market. Dean Rutila, a senior principle with the firm, presented the award to St. Vincent, who is majoring in environmental engineering and has worked on a research project studying the hydrologic and chemical conditions of a Bangladesh rice field. She also participated in the TREX class that did fieldwork studying the anchialine ponds on Hawaii in January.
“As the designers of infrastructures that will be used for many years, civil engineers have a great capacity to effect change in human well-being and environmental health,” St. Vincent wrote in her essay. “The responsibility of civil engineers is to use the vast array of materials and technologies at our disposal to improve quality of life while causing minimal harm and limiting the amount of remediation that we leave for future generations.” She called for an interdisciplinary approach across the subdisciplines of civil and environmental engineering in education and industry to help insure that engineers implement sustainable solutions.
Also at the event, junior Lauren Biscombe received the Howe-Walker Award (a one-year membership to the BSCES), and Professor Rafael Bras gave the keynote address on his involvement in the planning of the large infrastructure project to construct underwater floodgates to protect the city of Venice.
Students from MIT, Northeastern University, Tufts University and Merrimack College attended, as did engineers from Nitsch Engineering, LeMessurier Consultants, Vanasse Hangen Brustlin, Simpson Gumpertz & Heger, and other firms.