Nicholas Becker Receives Prestigious Gary M. Sandquist Endowed Fellowship for Nuclear Engineering Studies

Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering student Nicholas Becker has been honored with the esteemed Gary M. Sandquist Endowed Fellowship. The accolade marks the continuation of his academic journey as he embarks on his Ph.D. in Nuclear Engineering at the University of Utah.

Graduating in May with a BS in Civil Engineering and a minor in Nuclear Engineering, Becker prepares to continue his education in and contributions to the advancement of nuclear science with the support of this fellowship.

Becker’s journey to the world of Nuclear Engineering took a unique trajectory. Hailing from Las Vegas, Nevada, he was initially drawn to the University of Utah with the twin ambitions of pursuing a collegiate swimming career and a higher education. Despite having lived in various states across the United States—Texas, Missouri, Michigan, and Hawaii—Becker’s calling resonated from the University of Utah. His decision to answer that call has now positioned him as a rising star in the realm of Nuclear Engineering.

This fall, Becker will continue his research in nuclear medicine—specifically, exploring alternative cancer treatments—under the mentorship of Dr. Tara Mastren.

In the 2023–24 academic year, a total of 14 engineering students have been selected to receive graduate fellowships, exemplifying the U’s commitment to nurturing talent and fostering innovation in various engineering disciplines.

Poised to take the next stride in his academic journey, Nicholas Becker reflects, “Since completing my career as a student-athlete, I have developed a strong passion for nuclear science, and I am ecstatic to continue my education at Utah in the Nuclear Engineering Ph.D. program.”


Recent CvEEN graduate now Construction Engineer at UofU Health

When Vitoria Bini wanted more education in Construction Engineering, she left Brazil to come to the U

Former CvEEN student Vitoria Bini is now a Construction Project Manager at the University of Utah Health. She earned her MS in Civil Engineering with a focus on Construction Engineering at the U in 2022.

In her current position, Bini enjoys the opportunities to work with not only engineers, but also architects, construction teams, and providers at the main hospital and clinics throughout the length of entire construction projects.

That collaborative aspect of Construction Engineering and being able to team up with other types of engineers and architects is what originally piqued Bini’s interest in the field.

“Instead of focusing on only one aspect of a project, Construction Engineers have the opportunity to work in teams from start to finish while overseeing budgets and schedules, which gives you a whole understanding of the scope of the work being done,” said Bini

It was while working toward her BS in Civil Engineering at Federal Technological University of Paraná in Brazil that Bini realized how much she enjoyed this and other aspects of Construction Engineering. However, Federal Technological University of Paraná offered very few construction-focused courses, which led Bini to search for graduate degrees that could give her a competitive edge above other aspiring Construction Engineers.

Bini says the U’s graduate program in Civil and Environmental Engineering caught her eye as an MS applicant due to its high teaching quality, the fact that it’s well-ranked among U.S. universities, and that it offered many research areas. Its option to pursue research in Construction Engineering made it the perfect fit.

“The courses I took at the U prepared me with the theoretical knowledge I needed, especially project scheduling, contract administration, and cost estimation, which I do frequently in my current role,” Bini said.

But Bini also contributes her success in the program to her MS advisor, Dr. Abbas Rashidi, saying, “I felt that all the professors at the U cared about their students and wanted to prepare them to succeed.”

Upon reflecting on her time at the U and her current position as a Construction Project Manager, Bini concluded, “I feel that the program was a game changer in my life, and thanks to it I feel confident in my position today.”


Fun Fact:

Did you know that in September 2022, our Bachelor’s degree in Construction Engineering became the first ABET-accredited construction program in Utah?

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