FAU Students Win Second Place at Waste Design Competition

A group of Florida Atlantic University civil engineering students won second place at the Solid Waste Association of North America’s (SWANA) inaugural National Solid Waste Design Competition (SWDC).

From left to right: Neil Coffman, Bishow Nath Shaha, Joseph Lakner, Alyssa Dalloo, Justin Dacey, Daniel Meeroff


By kelsie-weekes | 10/13/2015

A group of Florida Atlantic University civil engineering students won second place at the Solid Waste Association of North America’s (SWANA) inaugural National Solid Waste Design Competition (SWDC) at the WASTECON 2015 conference, held in Orlando, Florida. The team finished just behind MIT, who won the competition.

Student teams were challenged to design a solution for dealing with elevated levels of hydrogen sulfide (H2S) in landfill gas (LFG), which is a "real world" problem faced by solid waste professionals. The competition consisted of a design report, a poster outlining the proposed solution, and a presentation by the team to demonstrate their understanding of the material.

Team co-captain, Joseph Lakner said, "This competition allowed FAU students to highlight skills learned in the civil engineering capstone design class, which makes us highly sought after upon graduation. It also opened our eyes to applications of engineering that we never considered, and we were blown away by how much the industry is inspiring students and young professionals to transform waste into reusable products."

Bishow Nath Shaha added, "This competition was a great opportunity for us, and the confidence we gained will inspire our next student teams to believe in themselves and make the FAU community proud. On behalf of the FAU student team, I am thankful to Dr. Meeroff for his continuous supervision and also Nathan P. Mayer from SWA for his continuous support."

The team included undergraduate students Alyssa Dalloo and Justin Dacey, and graduate students Bishow Nath Shaha, Joseph Lakner, and Neil Coffman. The team was guided by Daniel Meeroff, Ph.D., associate chair and professor in the FAU Department of Civil, Environmental and Geomatics Engineering.

The goal of the competition is to give students an opportunity to gain industry-related design experience and be introduced to potential careers in solid waste management.

“This competition was a great opportunity for our students to compete against students from the top universities by practicing what they have been learning in the classroom and the research lab,” said Meeroff. “We are very proud of their accomplishments and we received many compliments on the quality of their design. They did an excellent job.”

The event was created by SWANA’s Young Professionals (YP) group. The students received $1000 in prize money and $50 each for participating. 

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