WALNUT CREEK, Calif., October 14, 2014 — Brown and Caldwell, a leading nationwide environmental engineering and consulting firm, today announced the recipients of its 2014 scholarships awards. Brown and Caldwell annually provides college scholarships to promising full-time students pursuing careers in the environmental engineering industry under several award programs, including: the Dr. W. Wesley Eckenfelder, Jr. Scholarship; the Garr M. Jones Scholarship in Hydraulics; and the Minority Scholarship Program.

Dr. W. Wesley Eckenfelder, Jr. Scholarship

The Dr. W. Wesley Eckenfelder, Jr. Scholarship was established to honor Dr. Eckenfelder and his more than 50 years of pioneering work in the environmental profession. Each year, Brown and Caldwell awards this $5,000 scholarship to a student pursuing education and a career within the environmental industry.

The Dr. W. Wesley Eckenfelder Jr. Scholarship winner is Alma Beciragic, who was born in Zagreb, Croatia, and came to the United States as a refugee in 1992. In June 2010, she was awarded a presidential scholarship, which enabled her to attend Queens University of Charlotte. During her time there, she majored in environmental science and chemistry, and participated in numerous research projects on federal and local levels.

As a 2012 Hollings Scholar, Beciragic worked with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on shoreline uncertainty visualization. She also worked with the Charlotte Mecklenburg Utilities Department on various continuous improvement projects studying climate change adaptability, fleet fuel efficiency, and business cost minimization. In May 2014, Beciragic graduated as salutatorian, and she now is pursuing a Ph.D. at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Her research will focus on the fate and transport of disinfection byproducts in drinking water.

Garr M. Jones Scholarship in Hydraulics

The Garr M. Jones Scholarship in Hydraulics was established to honor Jones' more than 50 years of impact to the engineering industry by promoting excellence in hydraulic analysis and design. Garr is co-editor of three editions of Pumping Station Design — required reading in the field — and he has been involved with hundreds of projects during the course of his career. The $5,000 scholarship is open to full-time University of Washington students pursuing education and careers within the environmental industry, specializing in hydraulics.

Ryan Ziels is the Garr M. Jones Scholarship winner. Raised in Bellingham, Wash., Ziels earned a bachelor of science degree in environmental resource engineering from Humboldt State University in 2011, and then began his graduate studies in civil and environmental engineering at the University of Washington. He completed his master's degree in 2013, and focused on improving the biodegradation of steroid estrogens during wastewater treatment. Soon after, he participated as a UW Valle Fellow to study at the Biogas Research Center in Linköping, Sweden. There he began his Ph.D. research on improving the stability and performance of anaerobic co-digestion of fats, oils, and grease (FOG). Currently, he is continuing his graduate research on FOG co-digestion back at the UW, with an expected graduation date of 2016. Ziels hopes to help implement biogas technology for sustainable energy and waste treatment in the future.

Through its Minority Scholarship Program, Brown and Caldwell provides time and monetary commitment to invest in scholarships, internships and mentoring for full-time minority college students at the junior, senior or graduate level majoring in environmental engineering. Minority scholarship winners are chosen from a pool of applicants who have a declared major in engineering or one of the environmental sciences and have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher on a 4.0 scale (or equivalent on a 5.0 scale). Each winner receives a $5,000 scholarship. This year's recipients are:

  • Maria Mejia is an undergraduate student in her last semester at Metropolitan State University of Denver, where she is pursing a degree in environmental science. She was born in Medellin, Colombia, and has been living in the United States for 10 years.
  • Sahar Zavareh is a graduate student in geography at Oregon State University. She is a member of American Water Works Association, Pacific Northwest Section and the Association of American Geographers. Her studies focus on sustainable water financing intended for humanitarian engineering projects.
  • Aaron Caté is a graduate student in industrial engineering. He is a member of the Kewa Pueblo tribe, and has volunteered abroad frequently.
  • Kyle Shimabuku is pursuing his Ph.D. at the University of Colorado, studying environmental engineering. His technical interests include the removal of contaminants from drinking water, and nonpoint sources of pollution including agricultural and urban runoff.
  • Joey Yan is a graduate student at Stanford University's Environmental Engineering & Science Program. She grew up in San Francisco and earned her undergraduate degree at UCLA with an emphasis in environmental and water resources engineering. During the summers, she has traveled to volunteer in lesser-developed countries, interned at the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, and participated in a research program studying urban water sustainability.

Scholarship recipients are selected by a committee of Brown and Caldwell professionals on the basis of their academic accomplishments. Each year, scholarships are open to full-time college students enrolled in their junior or senior years or graduate programs. For details on eligibility, visit:

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