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Sourcing sustainable solutions

A new engineering award supports a Western student conducting innovative wastewater treatment research

by Krista Habermehl, MA'05 | November 24, 2014

Sourcing sustainable solutions
Mr. Eric Chung, BESc'77, MEng'78, and Mrs. Ruby Chung, BSc'78, are thrilled to give back to the university to help students like Tarek Rashwan, BESc'13, further their geotechnical or geo-environmental engineering research.

Sourcing new treatments for wastewater may not seem like the most glamourous line of research, but for 23-year-old Tarek Rashwan, BESc'13, the thrill is in the challenge of simplifying a complex issue.

“I really like the idea of taking a big environmental problem that encompasses a huge area and condensing it down to a simple problem on paper,” says Tarek, a master of engineering science student in the civil and environmental engineering program.

Tarek is the first recipient of the Eric and Ruby Chung Graduate Award in Geotechnical Engineering, an annual award established by Western alumni Eric and Ruby Chung to support engineering students whose research shows the promise of practical, industrial application.

Currently, Tarek is exploring ways in which technology used for the purpose of soil remediation can be applied to manage bio-solids from a wastewater treatment plant. When completed, this research has the potential for significant energy and, in turn, cost savings for plant operators.

Master of engineering science student Tarek Rashwan, BESc'13, is sourcing sustainable solutions for wastewater treatment. He is the first recipient of the Eric and Ruby Chung Graduate Award in Geotechnical Engineering.

“It generally takes a lot of energy to run a wastewater treatment plant. What we’re proposing is a more energy efficient way to manage the material,” says Tarek. “We’re pushing the envelope and moving further towards energy recovery, as opposed to solely focusing on treatment of the wastewater.”

By working directly with industry partners, Western engineering students, like Tarek, are able to expedite the transfer of their lab-based research to real-world, industrial application.

“Awards and scholarships enable our students to pursue their education and professional aspirations,” says Dean of Engineering, Andrew N. Hrymak. “We are delighted that Eric and Ruby Chung's award recognizes and supports students who are working to advance innovative technologies needed by engineering leaders working to improve communities everywhere."

Mr. Chung, BESc’77, MEng’78, fondly remembers his time at Western as a period of “coming alive.” The University is where he and his wife, Ruby, BSc’78, met and where he gained the knowledge to successfully launch his more than 30-year career as a geotechnical engineering consultant.

“I am grateful for my experience at Western, and for those involved in my education,” says Mr. Chung. “All of this has allowed me to go this far in my life and helped shape me to be the person I am today.”

Mr. and Mrs. Chung hope this award will inspire engineering students, like Tarek, to continue working to bring forward reliable solutions to the various challenges the industry is facing today.

“It is our pleasure to be able to encourage the next generation in furthering their research to produce practical industrial applications,” he says.

This article appeared in the Winter 2014 edition of Impact Western
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