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Civil Engineering Scholars

Each Receives $2,000 in Financial Aid

Joseph Benoit and Lisa Juan
Academic achievers Joseph Benoit and Lisa Juan.

By Edwin L. Aguirre

A 13-year-old boy from Quincy is alive and well today thanks to the quick action taken by a UMass Lowell student last summer.

Joseph Benoit, a junior civil engineering student, was working as a lifeguard at a community swimming pool in Quincy when he was alerted by other youngsters that the boy had lost consciousness and went underwater. Apparently, the boy tried to stand up in the pool’s shallow end and fell backward, hitting another swimmer.

Benoit and another lifeguard pulled out the boy, who had stopped breathing, and Benoit immediately performed CPR. He was able to revive the boy, who was then taken to a hospital in Boston.

“I’ve done CPR hundreds and hundreds of times on dummies, but this is the first time I’ve done it on a human,” says Benoit, who grew up in Quincy. “I’m happy the boy is OK.”

When not out in the field protecting and saving lives, Benoit excels academically in school, where he is president of UMass Lowell’s Underwater Hockey Club and paddling/construction captain for the Concrete Canoe Team.

Recently, he and another student, Lisa Juan, each received a $2,000 scholarship from the CH2M Hill Foundation. CH2M Hill is a global leader in engineering consulting, design, design-build, operations and program management with headquarters in Englewood, Colo.

“I’m very pleased to have been recognized for this scholarship and I know it will help tremendously as I continue my education at UMass Lowell,” says Benoit. “The award makes all the hard work throughout the year worthwhile, knowing that someone acknowledges it.” 

He plans to become an environmental engineer after graduating.

Juan, who also excels in her studies as a civil engineering junior, is president of the student chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers. She is a member of the Concrete Canoe and Steel Bridge teams as well as a member of the College of Engineering E-Council.

“Receiving the scholarship will have a major impact on my educational and professional career,” says Juan, who is from Boston. “Scholarships mean that you can be expected to perform well in competitive environments, a quality that employers look for in prospective hires.” 

 She says the financial aid is a tremendous help to her education at UMass Lowell: 

“The University provides the best environment for academic growth and I feel its academic programs, especially civil engineering, will greatly prepare me for my current career goal of going to grad school and becoming a transportation engineer.”