Britain Materek, of Parsippany, earned a degree in economics four years ago. But upon graduating, he realized he’d made a mistake. He’d rather be a civil engineer. So, he promptly enrolled at New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) for a second bachelor’s degree. “I’ve always been a problem solver and curious about how things work,” Materek said.
Three scholarships, two honor societies and one almost-perfect grade-point average later, Materek will walk down the aisle May 17, 2007 at Continental Airlines Arena, Secaucus, to receive at NJIT’s annual graduation his coveted civil engineering degree. Behind him will be memories of leading NJIT’s steel bridge team, which competes nationally to show off innovative designs and techniques. He won’t be able to forget either his participation in NJIT’s seismic student team—the group that designed a theoretical building model to withstand earthquakes. The innovative idea recently took a top national engineering award for structural innovation.
(ATTENTION EDITORS: Materek will be available for interviews, 8:30 a.m.-noon, May 17 at the Arena. Call Sheryl Weinstein prior to event at office (973-596-3436) or at event by cell (974-650-6489) for photos or interview. High-resolution photos sent upon request.)
Teachers have appreciated this young man’s thirst for knowledge. “Britain is an excellent civil engineering student who has clearly demonstrated a natural aptitude for conceptual and detailed design,” said Walter Konon, chairman of the civil engineering department. “He has shown outstanding leadership and is heavily involved in activities.”
Last summer Britain worked as an intern for Mueser Rutledge Consulting Engineering, in Manhattan. The firm’s work includes soil and rock studies, foundations and geotechnical engineering—Britain’s favorite specialty of civil engineering. Next year he will attend the University of Texas at Austin for his master’s degree in this area.
“The professors in the civil engineering department at NJIT have been great and I’ve learned so much from them,” said Britain. “Coming to NJIT has done just what I had hoped it would do—expand my horizons and give me the information I was looking for.”