MACON – Mercer University Master of Science in Engineering student Mónica Resto-Fernandez will receive the 2019 William Brewster Snow Award from the American Academy of Environmental Engineers and Scientists (AAEES) on April 25 in Washington, D.C.
The award has been presented annually since 1979 to recognize an environmental engineering graduate student who has made significant accomplishments in an employment or academic engineering project. Applicants are judged based on criteria including academic program and performance, professional or community service, and engineering project accomplishment, purpose and goals.
This year’s award will be presented at the 2019 Excellence in Environmental Engineering and Science Awards Luncheon and Conference at the National Press Club.
Resto-Fernandez, from Jacksonville, Florida, is being recognized for her master’s thesis project, which involves an assessment of water resources and investigation of how bacteriological contamination enters the domain of mountain springs in a study area in the San Juan province of the Dominican Republic.
She has served as co-leader of the Mercer On Mission program in the Dominican Republic since last summer, working with local communities to focus on water, indoor air quality, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) research and service activities to improve the environmental health of residents in and near the town of El Cercado. In addition to leading groundwater field research and service activities, she has taught aspects of WASH, Latin American culture and Spanish language to Mercer On Mission participants.
Resto-Fernandez, who is studying environmental engineering with a concentration in engineering for development, has worked as the graduate assistant for Mercer’s Engineering for Development program since January 2017. In this role, she has co-led the development of WASH education and outreach activities, as well as supporting renewable energy student research projects. She has also volunteered as a mentor for the Mercer Firsts Program in the Office of Student Success.
“I am honored to have been nominated by my influential research adviser and to have received this award,” said Resto-Fernandez. “I hope that this will bring awareness to the work that we are doing in the Dominican Republic and the millions of people worldwide living in rural mountainous areas who lack access to safe drinking water supplies.”
Before coming to Mercer, she earned her Bachelor of Science in civil engineering, magna cum laude, from the University of South Florida with a concentration in environmental engineering.
Resto-Fernandez plans to pursue a Ph.D. in environmental engineering or geoscience and continue research related to safer groundwater supplies, including continued collaboration with Mercer’s School of Engineering on the Mercer On Mission program in the Dominican Republic.
Upon completing a doctoral program, she would like to continue to work on international development projects focusing on protecting natural water sources and improving drinking water quality for people in developing communities, and also to teach engineering and geoscience using her fieldwork and research experiences to improve student learning.
“Monica has excelled in research, coursework and service leadership. In addition to the importance of her master’s research, her value to our sustainable development activities at Mercer and in the field in the Dominican Republic cannot be overstated,” said Dr. Michael MacCarthy, assistant professor of environmental engineering. “I’m delighted that Monica’s vision and determination are being recognized with this prestigious award.”
About the School of Engineering
Mercer University’s School of Engineering, founded in 1985, offers innovative and academically challenging programs that provide students with a comprehensive education, featuring a solid foundation in mathematics and sciences, a core engineering curriculum, a range of courses in engineering specialties and a strong emphasis on communication technologies. The School is consistently ranked by U.S. News and World Report as one of the top three master’s-degree-level engineering schools in the Southeast. Known for its breadth of instruction in its undergraduate program and its five-year joint bachelor’s and master’s degree program, the School combines technical education with hands-on laboratory experience. Mercer engineers can look forward to joining fellow alumni in companies such as Warner Robins Air Logistics Complex, Lockheed Martin, Georgia Power, Siemens and Gulfstream Aerospace.