Civil Engineering Student Wins Prestigious Award

FAU Honors 2018 Distinguished Alumni

Congratulations to Sharmily Rahman for being selected as the recipient of the Zirzow Memorial Student Award by the National Association of Environmental Professionals (NAEP).

Ms. Rahman is currently a Ph.D. student in the Department of Ocean and Mechanical Engineering, and this award is just one of many honors she has received while pursuing her studies at the FAU College of Engineering and Computer Science. In May, she received her Master of Science degree in Civil Engineering, with a Water Resources/Environmental Engineering concentration. 

Since 2018, she has worked as a research assistant under the supervision of Dr. Daniel Meeroff, Ph.D., professor and associate chair of the Department of Civil, Environmental and Geomatics Engineering. Dr. Meeroff recommended Ms. Rahman for this NAEP award, praising her impressive research, strong work ethic, and leadership skills. 

“Ms. Rahman is clearly one of the top graduate students in our program as evidenced by her exemplary character and scholastic achievements,” he said. “She is a gifted and talented student.” 

After graduating with her master’s degree, Ms. Rahman joined the PhD program with a focus on water/wastewater research, and she is interested in remaining in South Florida after graduation to pursue her career in this field. 

“My master's research focused on landfill odor quantification using human odorant binding protein as a biosensor,” she explained. “I want to continue building on my master's work and ensuring that my research addresses the issue of odor quantification and allows better control of landfill odors. My career goal is to contribute to the solid waste industry by participating in cutting-edge research.”

Ms. Rahman is currently managing two grants: "Detection of Nuisance Odors Using Odor Binding Protein Sensor," sponsored by the Environmental Research and Education Foundation; and "Development of a Biosensor for Measuring Odorants in the Ambient Air Near Solid Waste Management Facilities," sponsored by the Bill Hinkley Center for Solid and Hazardous Waste Management.

In 2019, under the mentorship of Dr. Meeroff, Ms. Rahman captained the FAU SWANA student design competition team to a first-place finish at WASTECON2019, leading a team of three undergraduates, one master’s degree student, and one doctoral candidate.  She also received the Presidential Fellowship award this summer and was awarded honorable mention in the Graduate Leadership category at the College’s 2nd Annual Academic Excellence Awards ceremony. In addition, she serves as an officer in the Florida Water Environment Association student chapter, and she has authored a conference paper and a peer-reviewed journal article. 

“During her time at FAU, I have found her to be a very studious, polite, and considerate student blessed with a pleasant attitude,” Dr. Meeroff added. “She is capable of conducting her work unsupervised in the laboratory setting, and she is organized and focused with great attention to detail and perseverance in the face of adversity. I appreciate her independent initiative, her maturity, and her work ethic.  

Ms. Rahman is the 19th recipient of this prestigious award and will receive a plaque, a one-year student membership to the NAEP, and a cash award. She was set to be honored at the NAEP Annual Conference, but the conference was canceled due to COVID-19.