Lanava Receives Udall Undergraduate Scholarship Honorable Mention
Benjamin Lanava, E’24, environmental engineering, received a Udall Undergraduate Scholarship Honorable Mention. Each year since 1996, the Udall Foundation has awarded 55 scholarships and 55 honorable mentions to aspiring sophomores and juniors who carry on the legacy of Morris K. Udall and Stewart L. Udall, champions for the environment and advocates for Native health care and Tribal public policy. This year’s Udall Scholars and Honorable Mentions represented the nation’s youth leaders in the fields, including 384 candidates nominated from 172 colleges and universities.
Benjamin Lanava COE’24, Environmental Engineering
Mentors: Annalisa Onnis-Hayden, Jessica Ormsby, Alina Dess
Home State: Massachusetts
Benjamin believes safe and clean access to water is a human right. Working tirelessly in the lab on plant-based solutions, Ben is aiding in solving the PFAS, highly toxic fluorinated “forever chemicals,” and for carbon sequestration efforts to stem climate change. This past year, Ben was awarded a PEAK Summit award to continue his research. In addition, he served as a campus director for the United Nations Millennium Fellowship, Vice President of the New England Water & Environment Association, and is a Design Lead with Engineers without Borders. The Udall Foundation recognized Ben as one of 55 honorable mentions for his efforts.
Benjamin Lanava hopes to find sustainable and affordable solutions to two of the most pressing environmental challenges of today: achieving carbon sequestration and providing communities around the world with access to safe, clean drinking water. Still early in his career, Ben has already done significant work to advance both of these goals. To prepare for this career in sustainability, Ben studies environmental engineering and has sought to complement his education with a number of important projects in the field. Ben’s work with water has been focused on two large projects. In one of these projects, for which he earned a PEAK Experiences Award, Ben has been researching plant-based strategies for the removal of harmful contaminants (PFAS and heavy metals). While this project focuses on the provision of clean water, Ben has also focused his efforts on providing basic access to water as a leader in Northeastern’s chapter of Engineers Without Borders. As a project lead for the chapter, Ben has been organizing both his peers and a large, rural community in Uganda to implement a solar-powered submersible pump for water treatment and distribution systems there. Recognizing the power of solutions that are themselves sustainable, Ben has also developed an interest in creating similar tools for carbon capture, working to create a passive, sustainable method for the solubilization of mining waste that combines with CO2 in the atmosphere to form useful products in the water treatment process through his co-op at Allonia. On campus, Ben serves as the Vice President of the New England Water & Environment Association, where he advances awareness and encourages engineers to pursue careers in civil engineering focused on environment and sustainability. Aside from organizing numerous park and river clean-ups, Ben is spearheading efforts with other members of NEWEA to make community gardens around Boston more accessible for people with various disabilities.