Lanava Receives 2024 Compass Award

Benjamin Lanava, E’24, environmental engineering, is a recipient of the 2024 Compass Awards, which recognizes exemplary students from the senior class who, during their time on campus, have demonstrated a true dedication to a core set of values: leadership, volunteerism, academic integrity, and commitment to Northeastern.

What are some of your hobbies and interests?

Some of my hobbies and interests include soccer, basketball, cooking, volunteering, gardening, reading, building puzzles, listening to music, and spending time with my family and friends!

What are some examples of your involvement in the Northeastern community and the community at large?

Within the Northeastern Community, I have been involved with a number of organizations and projects. First and foremost, I have been extensively involved with Engineers without Borders, serving as a university representative, design lead for the Uganda program, and most recently, president of the organization. I have also served as the vice president for the New England Water Environment Association at Northeastern. Other clubs that I have been involved with include the Alliance of Civically Engaged Students, the U.N. Millennium Fellowship as a campus director, the American Society of Civil Engineers, and the Sustainable Transportation at Northeastern club. Outside of clubs, I have participated in research on-campus throughout all four of my years at Northeastern, examining the feasibility of using sustainable, biologically-inspired solutions—plants and fungi—to remediate drinking water of the harmful contaminant PFAS. Finally, I have enjoyed playing intramural soccer, volleyball, and broomball with my friends at Northeastern as well!

Describe some of your achievements at Northeastern

Some achievements during my time at Northeastern would include organizing and co-leading our first trip back to our community partner in Uganda for EWB since the COVID-19 pandemic, receiving nominations for the Rhodes, Marshall, Knight-Hennessy, and Udall Scholarships from the URF department at Northeastern, having the opportunity to represent the Civil and Environmental Engineering student body at the Industrial Leadership Night for Northeastern CEE partners, and creating a manuscript for an academic journal that will hopefully be published in the coming months.

Of the above examples, which do you consider your most significant achievement and why?

I believe the most significant achievement from the above examples is the EWB trip to our community partners in Nakyenyi, Uganda. This trip installed a submersible pump, solar panels, tank, tap stands, and tank stand for our partner community of about 4,000 people to use. This trip re-established our connection with the community, provided an opportunity for invaluable water quality testing and land surveying to be conducted, and most importantly, included house-to-house surveys that allowed for community input to be included in the design of the final distribution system—to be installed in coming trips. Through this trip, we understand the severity of the issue of water scarcity in our community and learned that our system could directly work to save lives and prevent drowning deaths in our community from members of the community trying to collect water from dangerous nearby open sources of water.

What honors or awards have you received during your time as a student?

Some awards and honors I have received during my time as a student include being named in the 2023 Huntington 100, receiving an honorable mention for the Udall Scholarship for environmental leadership, being named to the Dean’s List, and participating in the Northeastern Honor’s Program throughout my time in college. Additionally, I was nominated for the Rhodes, Marshall, and Knight-Hennessy scholarships on behalf of Northeastern University. Some scholarships I’ve been awarded while at Northeastern include the Scranton Fund Scholarship, the Richard and Joy Gilbert Scholarship, the Vincent D. Barletta Scholarship, and some other CEE-related scholarships!

This story was originally published by Northeastern University Alumni Relations

Related Faculty: Annalisa Onnis-Hayden

Related Departments:Civil & Environmental Engineering