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Student Activities

Committee Leadership 

Christene Mitchell
HDR, Inc.
(757) 222-1540

Dana Fredericks
Hazen and Sawyer
Vice Chair
(804) 545-5092

Phill Yi
Hazen and Sawyer
Board Liaison

The Student Activities Committee (SAC) is a joint committee under VWEA and VAAWWA and welcomes members of all disciplines and tenure in the water fields (engineers, scientists, operators, faculty, students, etc.).


Enhance students’ knowledge of the water environment and encourage student membership and participation in Association Activities


Promote education, training, and technology exchange programs related to water fields

Provide leadership and learning opportunities by promoting participation in VAAWWA and VWEA events and other communities activities

Need to Know


Those currently undergraduates or graduates at a Virginia college/university are eligible for FREE membership in both our organizations, VWEA and VAAWWA.

To obtain your free membership, complete this application here. Both VAAWWA and VWEA will submit the application with payment to the National Associations.  

If you have questions contact:





Scholarships are available for 2017.

Find out the details on VAAWWA’s Scholarship page.

Find out the details on VWEA's Scholarship page.



Information for middle school students and their sponsors regarding upcoming events and rules will be posted here shortly. We truly appreciate the support of parents, teachers, and student leaders/mentors.


Committee Activities

Student Chapters

VAAWWA and VWEA have student chapters at universities throughout Virginia such as Virginia Tech and Old Dominion University. If you are interested in starting a Student Chapter at your college or university, please contact the SAC Chair. They would love to meet with you to discuss all the benefits!

VWEA Student Design Competition

Every year the SAC holds a design competition for our student chapters that feature a $1,200 first place grand prize along with a trip to WEFTEC to present at a national conference, as well as a $500 second place prize. The design competition is for teams of students to design and present a solution to a real world problem in the wastewater field.

This year Virginia was represented at the National Competition at WEFTEC in New Orleans by a team from the Virginia Military Institute (VMI) which included: Kyle Harrell, Vania Murcia, Nathaniel Whitmer, and Mike Young for their presentation entitled “Design and Implementation of a Low Maintenance, Zero Energy Portable Farm and Aquaponics System for Agriculturally Challenged Developing Communities”. Congratulation to Team VMI with their Second Place finish in the Environmental category at WEFTEC!

Students are currently working on designs to present at this year’s Student Design Competition to be held Friday, April 21st at the Henrico County Water Reclamation Facility. 

VAAWWA Student Water Challenge

The Thirteenth Annual Student Water Challenge was organized by the Student Activities Committee on Wednesday, September 14 at WaterJAM 2016. This year, four teams competed to solve a city’s increased water demand issue due to redevelopment. The teams included:
• Team ODU: Anas Tmara, Emily Black, Kinda Katrib, Josh Sgambelluri, Jacob Landis
• Team UVA: Kathryn Jaquish, Syed Kazmi, Mary-Katherine Lawrence, Daniel Ahn
• Team VT No. 1: Nevetha Ramesh, Pranav Sampara, Ke Li, Katherine Olson, Andrew Arnold
• Team VT No. 2: Eric Muench, Thomas Westfall, Bharani Rajasekaran, Jayesh Charthal, Lu Guan

The teams were given the problem statement on the morning of the competition and had approximately five hours to develop a solution to the problem and present it to a panel of judges.

Thank you so much to the judges who volunteered their time at WaterJAM to support the students. They are:
• James Cherry, City of Virginia Beach
• Christene Mitchell, HDR
• Eileen Leininger, formerly Newport News Waterworks
• Kevin Smith, O’Brien and Gere
• Kraig Schenkelberg, Hazen and Sawyer

It was an excellent competition this year. In the end, Team Virginia Tech (VT) No. 2 received the first place award which included a cash reward of $1200, a plaque, and a traveling trophy. Team University of Virginia (UVA) received the second place award which included a cash reward of $500 and a plaque. Congratulations to both teams and to all who participated.

WaterJAM Student Presentation

As we have been doing for the past few years, the Student Activities Committee has been awarding the top 2 WaterJAM student presenters of water topics and top 2 WaterJAM student presenters of wastewater topics (1st Place = $500 and 2nd Place = $250)

The committee is proud to announce the following winners of the WaterJAM 2016 Student Presentation Awards:
• Water Presentation 1st Place: Qingyun Ping, VT
• Wastewater Presentation 1st Place:  Mohan Qin, VT
• Wastewater Presentation 2nd Place: Ankit Pathak, VT

VAAWWA Model Water Tower Challenge

SAC hosted the third annual Model Water Tower Challenge on Saturday, October 29th, 2016 at Old Dominion University’s (ODU) Webb Center. Sixteen teams participated from various middle schools in the Hampton Roads area. This was the first year that public schools were represented in the competition. Teams were awarded as follows:
• First Place: Team Aqua Engineers (Homeschool)
• Second Place: Team Mighty Oaks (Norfolk Collegiate – Norfolk)
• Third Place: Team Llama Army (Queens Lake Middle School – York County)
• Most Creative: Team Aqua Engineers (Homeschool)
• Most Structurally Efficient: Team The Flips (Trinity Lutheran School)








 The Model Water Tower Challenge is geared towards encouraging the next generation of engineers by getting middle school students interested in designing a working water tower. Teams are judged on structural efficiency, hydraulic efficiency, cost efficiency, and design ingenuity. Awards are given for First Place ($300), Second Place ($200), and Third Place ($100).

Special thanks to the volunteers from the SAC, Work for Water, the ODU Civil and Environmental Engineering Alumni Chapter (CEEAC), and ODU students. This couldn’t have been done without your help and support.

VAAWWA Science Fair Awards

This year marks 25 years of the VAAWWA participating in six regional science fairs and the Virginia State Science Fair at VMI.  The VAAWWA award is presented to middle and high school students whose projects are selected by the VAAWWA judges.  The criteria for the VAAWWA award is the project deals with some aspect of water, such as water resource, drinking water treatment, water quality, etc.  The VAAWWA award consists of a monetary award and certificate of merit.

Volunteers are needed to participate as judges for the VAAWWA award. The responsibilities of the VAAWWA judges are to determine what science and engineering projects satisfy the criteria; evaluate the projects, including interviewing the student; and selection of the best project. Each fair needs a minimum of 6 VAAWWA judges that serve as a team.

If you are interested in volunteering to serve as a judge or if there are any questions you or others in your organization might have about the VAAWWA Science Fair award, judging, etc. please contact Sherry Williams, VAAWWA Secretary by phone (757-238-9625) or email (

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