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October 19, 2005


NEW YORK, October 19, 2005 – Honors student Benjamin Jon Schiller, whose burning desire to become a civil engineer led him to The City College of New York eight years after graduating from high school, was chosen to receive a Samuel Fletcher Tapman Scholarship from the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE).

The award, one of 15 scholarships and fellowships given out in the United States and Japan by ASCE this year, comes with a $2,000 stipend. The other 14 recipients represent such institutions as Vanderbilt University, Texas A&M University, Rice University, Tufts University and Nagoya University in Japan.

“It’s an incredible honor,” said Mr. Schiller, a Civil Engineering major. “I wasn’t expecting it.”

Dr. Feng-Bao Lin, Professor of Civil Engineering in CCNY’s School of Engineering and faculty advisor to the College’s ASCE Student Chapter, said Mr. Schiller, who graduates next February from the Herman Muehlstein Honors College at CCNY, deserved the award.

“Ben is innovative and often comes up with new ideas to tackle problems from different angles. He is one of the brightest students I have ever seen,” Dr. Lin said.

The ASCE scholarship is the latest honor received by Mr. Schiller, a Pennsylvania native who worked for eight years after high school in construction before his fascination with civil engineering brought him to The City College.

His previous awards include: the Rose Lederman Scholarship, presented to the Engineering junior with the highest GPA (2004); the Dr. Barnett and Jean Hollander Rich scholarship for Mathematics (2004); the Earth Tech, Inc. Scholarship from the American Council of Engineering Companies of New York (2005); the CCNY Engineering Alumni Group’s Robert Whitford Scholarship, and the Paul B. Richards Memorial Scholarship from the General Building Contractors of New York State.

Aside from his outstanding academic standing, ASCE also recognized Mr. Schiller’s leadership qualities and participation in the Society’s student chapter at City College. He’s specifically involved in “Engineers without Borders,” a new student club whose goal is to meet civil engineering needs in underdeveloped countries.

 For its first mission, the club at CCNY has applied to the mother body to embark on a project building water wells in the Dominican Republic.

“We expect a response in six weeks time and if we get the greenlight, a team of students will travel to the Dominican Republic to begin the project,” Mr. Schiller noted.

In his application essay submitted to the ASCE Committee on Scholarships, Mr. Schiller emphasized his passion for civil engineering.

“I feel that my reasons for choosing to become a civil engineer are a little different from many of the other students that I speak to,” wrote the Manhattan resident.

“Most are in the program because their advisor suggested it to them, or because they feel it will be a good career choice based on factors such as salary and prestige. I chose to study civil engineering because I was fascinated by the field. In fact, I only came to school because of my interest in civil engineering.”