WSU Tri-Cities civil engineering student awarded Institute of Hazardous Materials Management scholarship

A civil engineering student who wants to solve problems and serve the public through a career in the nuclear field has received a $6,000 scholarship from the Institute of Hazardous Materials Management (IHMM).

Jose Contreras, a senior studying civil engineering at Washington State University Tri-Cities, applied for the scholarship after earning a Student Certified Hazardous Materials Manager (ST/CHMM) national certification through a course on hazardous materials management and treatment taught by adjunct faculty member Michelle Hendrickson. The scholarship will lead to Contreras becoming a fully certified IHMM credential holder in his professional career.

Receiving the scholarship has given Contreras the confidence to pursue a career in the engineering industry. “It demonstrates that there are people that believe in my goals and aspirations as an engineer. I think this scholarship will give me the opportunity to advance professionally in the engineering industry because of its high reputation about environmental laws and regulations,” he said.

Contreras discovered his passion for civil engineering while earning an associate degree in engineering fundamentals during his time in the Army.  He wanted to continue his education and chose to attend WSU Tri-Cities. He said the fact that it’s close to where he lives and the high level of education it offers along with smaller class sizes and one-on-one access to professors made it a great choice for him.

Since last summer Contreras has been busy gaining experience and certification in his field of study. In addition to earning his ST/CHMM certification he was an intern with Washington River Protection Solution’s (WRPS) Testing and Commissioning organization and starting this fall, he joined the WSU-WRPS co-op program. The co-op program will give him additional work experience alongside his studies with the potential for employment with WRPS after graduation.

“I am a firm believer in education as key for better opportunities and gaining knowledge to solve problems,” Contreras said. “A Civil Engineering career will allow me the opportunity to apply what I have learned, to learn more, and to serve the public.”

Contreras plans to pursue the CHMM certification after he graduates.

The Dr. John H. Frick Memorial scholarship is named in memory of one of the founders of IHMM. The funds are awarded to undergraduate and graduate students across the United States who attend the institute’s approved universities, are in good academic standing, demonstrate a desire to enter the hazardous materials management or safety, health, and environmental professions upon graduation, and have attained status as a Student/Certified Hazardous Materials Manager (ST/CHMM) or Student/Associate Safety and Health Manager (ST/ASHM).

Learn more about the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.