Feature Stories

A Recent Grad Wins Scholarship to Cornell

William Pennock will devote his career to helping poor communities get clean water.

William Pennock recently visited Milot, Haiti. As a member of Engineers Without Borders, he's helping Milot get clean drinking water and sanitary toilets. The students in the campus club designed a biofilter that removes pathogens from drinking water; they also designed eco-latrines that keep waste out of the ground water. They have visited Milot often to help the locals install the filters and latrines.    

William, who graduated in May at the top of his class, intends to dedicate his life to helping communities in developing countries improve their water treatment systems.  Last summer, he worked as a community development intern in Quito, Ecuador, where he upgraded the city’s water systems. He also helped design and build a piping system in an Ecuadorian village outside of Quito, allowing the locals to get water from the Andes Mountains. .

“There’s a verse in Colossians 3:23 that I like," says William.. "The verse is, 'Whatever you do, do your work heartily as for the Lord rather than for men.’ I try to work with excellence to help people.”

Excellence is a word that aptly describes William. Just before he graduated from the Albert Dorman Honors College at NJIT, he received two of the Newark College of Engineering’s (NCE) highest honors. He was named the Outstanding Senior in his major – civil and environmental engineering – and NCE’s Outstanding Senior of the Year. Academically he ranked first in his senior class with a 4.0 GPA.  He recently received a full scholarship to do an MS/Ph.D. at Cornell University's School of Environmental Engineering.  He’ll focus on water quality, and be part of Cornell’s prestigious Agua Clara program, in which students and professors design clean water systems for communities in developing countries. 

“All throughout the Bible is a common refrain,” says William, “which is to help the poor; to help others; to help those in need.  That’s what I plan to devote my life to.”

Robert Florida