NOVA-Manassas engineering student wins prestigious award
March 6, 2013
Syed Sarwar of Manassas recently won a competition sponsored by the District of Columbia Council of Engineering and Architectural Societies. Sarwar was recognized during an awards banquet on Feb. 23 in Silver Spring, Md., where he also received the $500 first-place prize.
Sarwar expressed his excitement about winning the award. “I felt very good when I heard the good news from my engineering professor that my hard work paid off,” he said.
Called the Competition for Outstanding Young Engineer and Architect Research Papers, the contest evaluated research papers written by undergraduate and graduate students. The rigorous criteria required entries to be formatted according to standard guidelines for publication in a professional journal and to include an abstract, discussion, method of study, results and significance of the project.
Sarwar’s submission, “Utilization of Landfill Biogas to Decrease Campus CO2 Emissions Through Construction of CHHP System,” won in the undergraduate category. The paper illustrates how a hydrogen energy system constructed on a college campus can make use of local resources such as municipal landfills. The hydrogen energy system described in the paper would use landfill gas to fuel itself and to supply thermal and electrical energy needs for the campus and surrounding community. In return, the system would reduce carbon dioxide emissions.
As a student at the Manassas Campus of Northern Virginia Community College, Sarwar learned about the contest from engineering instructor Monica Mallini.
“I wanted to give my students an opportunity to learn how to write a professional paper, something most students do not experience until graduate school. Syed wrote the paper as a freshman in the honors option section of my ‘Introduction to Engineering’ class,” Mallini said. “At the awards reception, the education committee chairman said we made history because Syed was the first community college student to enter and win this contest. I am extremely pleased with Syed’s success and encouraged to find more opportunities like this for our students.”
Sarwar graduated from Stonewall Jackson High School in 2011 and enrolled at NOVA that fall. After NOVA, he plans to transfer to George Washington University to continue his education in mechanical engineering specializing in the automotive industry.
“I am very motivated and passionate about becoming a mechanical engineer and working at Mercedes-Benz, my dream company,” Sarwar said.
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Northern Virginia Community College is the largest institution of higher education in the Commonwealth of Virginia and one of America's largest community colleges. NOVA enrolls more than 75,000 students at its six campuses in Alexandria, Annandale, Loudoun, Manassas, Springfield and Woodbridge, and through the Extended Learning Institute. For more information about NOVA and its programs or services, call 703-323-3000 or visit the College's Web site, www.nvcc.edu.