Be Boundless

Two CEE students receive Husky 100 Awards


April 6, 2017

In recognition of their performance both inside and outside the classroom, undergraduate seniors Esther Chang and Trevor Renken, who were honored with Husky 100 Awards. The annual awards recognize 100 undergraduate and graduate students from across UW’s three campuses in Seattle, Tacoma and Bothell who “apply what they learn to make a difference on campus, in their communities and for the future.”

Esther Chang
CEE Senior, Water/Environmental Focus

What was your reaction to receiving the award? 
I was surprised, excited and proud when I learned that I was part of this year's Husky 100. For me, this award is beyond recognizing my achievements here. It recognizes my parents' journey immigrating to America so that I could pursue the American Dream. It shows that the tough times they have endured have been worth it because of the opportunities available to me. 

Why do you think you were selected for the award?
My path to CEE was non-traditional because I started my freshman year as a French major with an interest in environmental science. Engineering wasn't on my radar until I realized that civil and environmental engineers solve water quality issues. The switch to pre-engineering was rough, especially because I crammed all of my pre-requisites into sophomore year. I believe I was selected for this award because of my demonstrated passion and dedication to learn inside and outside of the classroom. To me, engineering is more than applying math and science. It's incorporating the needs of people and understanding the impacts on surrounding communities and environments. 

What campus activities/clubs/societies are you involved in?
This year I've been active in peer mentoring for the College of Engineering, Northwest Women and ASCE. In past years, I was involved with Engineers Without Borders as the Publicity Director, Society of Women Engineers as a peer mentor, and in the residence halls as a Resident Adviser. 

What are your plans following graduation?
I will be working full-time as a water engineer at CH2M in Bellevue.

What is your secret to being a successful student? 
I let my passions drive me. Rather than waiting for opportunities, I seek for them and occasionally create my own. But most importantly, learning how to reach out and ask for help became my greatest strength. Without the support and guidance of my parents, teachers and classmates, I wouldn't have made it to where I am today.  

Trevor Renken
CEE Senior, Structures Focus

What was your reaction to receiving the award?
Excitement! It was completely unexpected while I was checking my email one day and put me in a great mood. It kick started a great few weeks, too, as I got a full-time job offer the following week and then left for spring break.

Why do you think you were selected for the award?
I think I was selected because I've demonstrated passion and commitment during my involvement in various campus organizations during my time at UW. The award states that it is given to "those who have made the most of their time at UW," and I feel that I have done that. I also think I was able to show that my husky experience has been unique and very positive and that I've learned a lot that I will use to be successful in the future. 

What campus activities/clubs/societies are you involved in?
I've worked as a Student Coordinator for First Year Programs for two years and I also taught a FIG this past fall. I am a member of the ASCE UW student chapter and I have participated in the Concrete Canoe club. Lastly, I'm an active member in a Fraternity on campus (Chi Psi) and have held positions both within my chapter and on the InterFraternity Council.

What are your plans following graduation?
I recently accepted a job offer with Ryan Companies, a general contractor headquartered in Minneapolis, Minn. I'll be working as a project engineer on various construction projects in the Seattle area and probably living somewhere around Greenlake. Immediate plans also include a trip to Europe with a couple friends for a few weeks.

What is your secret to being a successful student?
I'd say the key is balance. You can't be successful if you bite off more than you can chew and you're not getting much out of your time here if you don't take on enough. Find things that you're passionate about and get involved, but also take chances to step out of your comfort zone and join organizations or classes that you may not know that much about. Don't take on more responsibility or join another activity until you feel you can handle it. And lastly, never forget to take breaks and have fun.