Carollo has announced the recipient of the 2021 Bryant L. Bench Scholarship. The annual award provides $10,000 to an engineering graduate student with a passion for providing innovative solutions to the world’s water challenges. This year’s scholarship honors Rajuan Nelson, a M.S. candidate at the University of Southern California. Rajuan was honored during AWWA’s Virtual Scholarship Recognition Ceremony on June 8, 2021.
As an undergraduate and graduate student at the University of Southern California, and as an intern with Carollo, Rajuan has displayed strong leadership and an aptitude for water research, channeling his passion for remedying water scarcity and water insecurity issues locally and around the globe by participating in and leading both research and humanitarian initiatives. He held multiple leadership roles as part of USC chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers, including the role of president. Rajuan has led efforts to fundraise and provide resources to communities in need both locally in Los Angeles and worldwide, for issues ranging from housing insecurity to water scarcity.
Rajuan has participated in and led numerous research projects into water and wastewater technology, and has competed and placed in several national engineering competitions. His research has ranged from solar distillation and desalination practices to applications of green energy and co-digestion of food waste. Rajuan is especially interested in developing practices and technology that mirror processes found in nature, to reduce unintended new phenomena resulting from new applications, and to maximize the longevity and sustainability of new technology.
“My guiding principle is to seek a quality solution that stands against the test of time, rather than a solution for the given moment,” says Rajuan. “Many solutions to crises and challenges in the past have exacerbated or transformed one problem into a more persistent issue. My goal is to use innovative materials in treatment systems that are derived from natural phenomena and systems.”
Since the 7th grade, Rajuan’s enthusiasm for water research has been a guiding factor in his education, research, and leadership pursuits. He is currently completing his M.S. in environmental engineering and intends to pursue a PhD at a premier environmental engineering program. His dedication to providing access to clean water through sustainable water and wastewater treatment practices will be an asset to the industry as he pursues his PhD, and beyond.