Councils & Committees

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Student Activities

The Student Activities Committee (SAC) is a joint committee under VA AWWA and VWEA and welcomes members of all disciplines and tenure in the water fields (engineers, scientists, operators, faculty, students, etc.).


Enhance students’ knowledge of the water environment and encourage student membership and participation in Association Activities


  • Promote education, training, and technology exchange programs related to water fields
  • Provide leadership and learning opportunities by promoting participation in VA AWWA and VWEA events and other communities activities

Need to Know


Current undergraduates or graduates at a Virginia college/university are eligible for FREE membership in both our organizations, VA AWWA and VWEA.

To obtain your free membership, complete this application here.  Both VA AWWA and VWEA will submit the application with payment to the national associations.  

If you have questions, contact:





Scholarships are available for 2019.

Find out the details on VA AWWA’s Scholarship page.

Find out the details on VWEA's Scholarship page

The Student Activities Committee would like to congratulate the winners of the Digital Knowledge Competition.

Student Winners:

1st Place - Akshay Jain - Bioelectrochemical Systems - Virginia Tech

2nd Place- Kyung Sun Chung - Template Assisted Crystalization (TAZ) for Reverse Osmosis - Virginia Tech

Young Professionals:

1st Place - Michael Schindler - Crushed glass, the valuable resorce nobody is thinking about - Fairfax County

2nd Place - Mehdi Ketabchy - Simulation of Watershed-Scale Practices for Mitigating the Thermal Pollution of Urbanization - Gannett Fleming

Student Chapters     Student Design Competition

Student Water Challenge

  Model Water Tower Challenge


  Science Fair

Digital Knowledge Competition



Student Chapters

VA AWWA and VWEA have student chapters at universities throughout Virginia. If you are interested in starting a student chapter at your college or university, please contact the SAC Chair. They would love to meet with you to discuss all the benefits!

There are many great resources for starting your Chapter. Please go to each association's website for more information.




Current Student Chapters:




Student Contact

SAC Point of Contact


Matthew Doyle

Sarah Shay 

Elena Herrera


Gary Schafran

Haley Morgan

Jessica Hou


COL Tom Timmes



Christene Mitchell 


Jason He

Kyung-Sun (Jessie) Chung 

Ashly Thomas

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VA AWWA Student Water Challenge 

A design competition organized by the SAC is to be held at the annual Water Joint Annual Meeting (JAM) between teams from different universities across Virginia.

The VA AWWA Student Water Challenge will focus on using a combination of engineering and science to address a real-world water-related issue.  On the day of the competition, the student teams will be provided the specifics of the drinking water problem, allowed approximately five (5) hours to put together their response, and present it to a panel of judges.

Cash prizes & trophies will be awarded!
     1st place team:  $1,200 cash prize plus a traveling trophy and plaque
     2nd place team:  $500.00 cash prize and a plaque

Mark your calendars!
     Look out for registration materials in August
     Competition Day is on Wednesday of JAM

For more information, contact Shirley Smith at


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VA AWWA scholarships are awarded each year to the top Virginia operator, graduate student, and undergraduate student applicants. Scholarship awards are $1,000, $2,500, and $2,000, respectively. Be on the lookout for application requests in the spring.

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Digital Knowledge Competition


 This is an open platform to share your work in a crative way!  The Student Activities Committee will be seeking submissions for the Digital Knowledge Competition in August.  Visit for more information and a submission link.  These presentations will utilize video to engage, educate, and interact with audiences local and remote to WaterJAM.  This competition is gearded towards students (undergraduate, graduate, post-graduate) to present their research and design projects.

The Digital Knowledge Competition is Virginia's spin-off of the National WEFTEC Interactive Knowledge Exchange session held annually.  Entrants are highly encouraged to view these videos at

A Digital Knowledge Competition video should be 30 seconds to 2 minutes in length and utilize a creative combination of sound and visual imagery to convey a concentrated message. All submissions may utilize video footage, photographic images, animation, voice-over narration, music, humor, etc. to illustrate the message.

The abstract should describe what you will do in the video; i.e. what is the topic and how do you plan to present it, who is your target audience, and what is your desired outcome. The abstract should be nice and concise (max 200 words). Abstracts should be submitted for approval prior to video development/submission. No video will be reviewed without abstract submission and approval.

The Digital Knowledge Competition videos should showcase recent or ongoing research or innovative or novel ideas related to the fields of water and wastewater, such as:

  • A novel way to overcome an engineering/scientific challenge
  • A noteworthy innovative process or tool
  • Ongoing research to include the reason for it, your process, and results to date, if any
  • Concluded research project to include your process and conclusions.

All Digital Knowledge Competition videos will be presented on a dedicated monitor at WaterJAM for the region’s industry professionals to enjoy! Submissions will also be available on YouTube, and all participants’ names will be printed in a flyer at WaterJAM. First place and second place winners will be awarded $500 and $250, respectively. The winning videos will be played at the WaterJAM Banquet.  

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VWEA Student Design Competition

Every year the SAC holds a design competition for our student chapters that feature a $1,200 first place grand prize along with a trip to WEFTEC to present at a national conference, as well as a $500 second place prize. The design competition is for teams of students to design and present a solution to a real-world problem in the wastewater field.

For more information, please visit the VWEA Student Activities web page at 

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VA AWWA Model Water Tower Challenge

The Model Water Tower Competition is geared towards encouraging the next generation of engineers by getting middle school students interested in designing a working water tower. Teams are judged on structural efficiency, hydraulic efficiency, cost efficiency, and design ingenuity. Awards are given for First Place (a $75.00 gift card will be given to each member of the team), Second Place (a $50.00 git card will be given to each member of the team), and Third Place (a $25.00 gift card will be given to each member of the team).  Competitions are held in the fall for the Tidewater area and the Prince William County area.

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VA AWWA Science Fair Awards


The VA AWWA award is presented to middle and high school students whose projects are selected by the VA AWWA judges. The criteria for the VA AWWA award is the project deals with some aspect of water, such as water resource, drinking water treatment, water quality, etc. The VA AWWA award consists of a monetary award and certificate of merit.

Volunteers are needed to participate as judges for the VA AWWA award. The responsibilities of the VA AWWA judges are to determine what science and engineering projects satisfy the criteria; evaluate the projects, including interviewing the student; and selection of the best project. Each fair needs a minimum of six (6) VA AWWA judges that serve as a team.

If you are interested in volunteering to serve as a judge or if there are any questions you or others in your organization might have about the VA AWWA Science Fair Award, judging, etc., please contact Sherry Williams at

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Shirley Smith
Hazen and Sawyer
4500 Main Street
Suite 500
Virginia Beach VA, 23462
Office: 757.663.7887


Mark Titcomb
Newport News Waterworks
437 Waterworks Way
Newport News VA, 23608
Office: 757-234-6803
Mobile: 757-570-3512


Michele Siminari
Fairfax Water
1295 Fred Morin Rd
Herndon VA, 20170
Office: 703.289.6568