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Five students awarded ASCE scholarships

Five student awarded ASCE scholarships

Being an active member of a student organization has many benefits, including scholarship opportunities. Students from UIC’s Civil and Materials Engineering dominated the Illinois section of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) scholarships. The UIC students were awarded five of only 12 scholarships allocated.

ASCE Student Leadership & Involvement Scholarship

Cleo Jaurigue was awarded the ASCE Student Leadership & Involvement Scholarship for her active leadership role in the ASCE student chapter where she is the fundraising chair.

“I was really surprised. With everything going on right now, I almost forgot about it. It was definitely a good surprise,” she said.

As a UIC student, she was previously awarded a Civil Engineering Professional Advisory Committee (CEPAC) scholarship from Turner Construction, which is geared specifically toward CME students.

CME Assistant Clinical Professor Joseph Schulenberg recommended Jaurigue for her great attitude, work ethic, and strong interest in learning the field of civil engineering.

“Cleo has a strong military background, and her training there has given her a great deal of discipline to permit her to succeed academically,” said Schulenberg. “Additionally, she has a strong service ethic. She has volunteered to describe her engineering experiences to prospective students, volunteered with the American Society of Civil Engineers as fundraising chair and webmaster. She has worked with the Freshman Success Program to help freshmen make the transition to college.”

Transportation & Development Institute Bob Camillone Memorial Scholarship

Natasha Breslieva and Ines Torra-Bilal were the recipients of the Transportation & Development Institute Bob Camillone Memorial Scholarship for taking relevant elective courses or indicating strong interest in transportation engineering, drainage, urban planning, structural engineering, or geotechnical engineering.

“As a future transportation engineer, I was thrilled to be elected for the T&DI scholarship. During times of pandemic, winning scholarships is what keeps us going and motivated to do even better in the future,” said Breslieva, who serves as the fundraising chair for the UIC chapter of ASCE.

As a UIC student, she has also won the Gordon Paesani ITS Midwest Scholarship and the ASCE – UESI Pipelines Conference Student Scholarship, and she earned two other scholarships before transferring to UIC.

“Natasha showed great academic curiosity in my class and was always attentive. I was impressed with her solid engineering skills, quick grasp of fundamental concepts, and ability to apply in real engineering problems, demonstrated through her class project. This is reflected in a number of real-world professional experiences Natasha has had in the five years,” said Jane Lin, a CME professor and director of the SusTrans Lab who recommended her for the scholarship.

“I am sincerely honored to have been selected as the recipient of this prestigious award. This great achievement is very motivating and meaningful to me as I am working towards completing my doctoral research under UIC’s Associate Professor Mustafa Mahamid,” said Torra-Bilal. “I would like to truly thank my advisor for his continuous support and for always being an excellent mentor and role model for me.”

During her tenure at UIC, she won a scholarship in the Christopher Burke Poster Competition for PhD students in 2019 and Illinois Society of Professional Engineers award in 2017.

Her success is echoed by her supervising professor Mahamid, who recommended her for the scholarship.

“She has the ability to apply her knowledge in different fields which will significantly benefit her in the future as an engineer and possibly as a researcher, and has published several journal and conference papers so far and she is currently working on various topics,” he said. “She is very well-rounded student and strives to make a difference in her community through volunteering, takes advantage of any opportunity she has to help other students, and conducts herself in a very professional manner.”

Structural Engineering Institute Scholarship

Michelle Calcagno picked up the Structural Engineering Institute Scholarship for taking relevant elective courses or indicating strong interest in structural engineering or architectural engineering.

“I was excited and appreciative because I will need it for Berkeley,” said Calcagno. “Chicago is a great city to be studying civil engineering in, after all, it is the home of the first skyscraper. I am proud to say that I physically helped build some of the skyscrapers that shape Chicago’s amazing skyline. I was fortunate to have the opportunity to attend UIC to learn how to design these structures that are visible from campus.”

As a UIC student, she also won the Illinois Road & Transportation Builders Association Scholarship from the UIC College of Engineering.

Apart from taking courses, Calcagno went above and beyond as an ASCE member to support her fellow students.

“Michelle has been instrumental, and a key element, behind the success of the ASCE Legends initiative that was implemented – with the help of the ASCE – IL Section – for the first time in the history of the ASCE,” said Hossein Ataei, clinical assistant professor, and director of Undergraduate Studies in CME.

The ASCE Legends is a mentorship program that is specifically designed to further engage and involve retired civil engineers with younger members and students as professional mentors.

“Michelle is an excellent student; an absolutely hard-working individual with very high levels of integrity, involvement, and professionalism. She is driven, dedicated, and persistent in performing the assigned projects and professional/academic tasks,” he added.

Environmental and Water Resources Institute Scholarship

Kyle Berry received the Environmental and Water Resources Institute Scholarship for taking relevant elective courses or indicating strong interest in environmental engineering or water resources engineering.

“I was ecstatic and thankful. I have never won a scholarship before and for it to come from a prestigious organization like ASCE made it even better,” he said. “The CME program at UIC provides so much opportunity in theChicagoland job market. I am grateful to be in such an exceptional program.”

Barry also served as the Student Events and Outreach Chair for the UIC student chapter of ASCE, and the team captain of the Student Steel Bridge Club for the ASCE Great Lakes Student Conference. He cited the experience as one of the most challenging projects at UIC, but was grateful to find the support needed to succeed.

“Eric Schmidt, director of the UIC Makerspace, is incredibly knowledge about manufacturing and equipment usage. He turns ideas that students have for projects into reality,” he said.

Learn more about the ASCE chapter at UIC at