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WVU engineering student awarded Tau Beta Pi graduate fellowship

Will McNeil

Will McNeil will be studying at the University of California, Berkley, and plans to study solutions to water pollution, including acid mine drainage. (Submitted photo)

Tau Beta Pi, the engineering honor society, has selected 28 engineering students for graduate fellowships for the 2021-2022 academic year. West Virginia University Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources student Wilson “Will” McNeil was selected as one of the recipients. 

Story by Adrianne Uphold, Graduate Assistant 


McNeil, a Morgantown native and environmental engineering student, has received the Matthews No. 24 Fellowship. McNeil will study at the University of California, Berkeley this fall. 

At the Statler College, McNeil worked with Leslie Hopkinson, associate professor in the Wadsworth Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, on modeled water resources of the Monongahela River and made predictions for how climate change will impact water supply and demand. 

McNeil also worked on a project with Dimitra Pyrialakou, Maurice Wadsworth Faculty Fellow and assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering, which involved looking at greenhouse gas emissions from transportation for individuals who live in both rural and urban environments, a topic he believes is important for the environment in West Virginia. 

At the University of California, McNeil hopes to study solutions to water pollution, including acid mine drainage. 

“I chose this field of study because the environment is becoming an increasingly important field,” McNeil said. “Environmental engineering seeks to improve many environmental problems present in West Virginia.”

McNeil plans to work for a federal entity or a national laboratory, such as the Environmental Protection Agency, to improve the environment of West Virginia and beyond.

“As the Tau Beta Pi Fellowship has been around since 1929, the honor is well recognized by top colleges,” McNeil said. “Being a recipient opens doors for me in the academic and professional engineering networks. Additionally, the award money makes it financially feasible for me to study at UC Berkeley, which houses the top-ranked environmental engineering program in the world.”

The Matthews Fellowship is awarded in honor of R.C. “Red” Matthews, IL Αlpha 1902, who served as Secretary and Secretary-Treasurer from 1905-47 and as Secretary-Treasurer Emeritus in 1947-78.

Out of the 336 applicants, all 28 students but one will receive cash stipends of $10,000 for their advanced academic studies. Since 1929, Tau Beta Pi has awarded 1,736 fellowships. Tau Beta Pi Fellowships are awarded on the competitive criteria of high scholarships, campus leadership, service and promise of future contributions to the engineering profession.

Tau Beta Pi was founded at Lehigh University in 1885. As the world’s largest engineering society, Τau Beta Pi has collegiate chapters at 250 engineering colleges in the United States, 47 active alumni chapters, and has initiated over 615,000 members. 



Contact: Paige Nesbit
Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources
304.293.4135, Paige Nesbit

For more information on news and events in the West Virginia University Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources, contact our Marketing and Communications office:

Phone: 304-293-4135