From trash to treasure

Neal Melchionni ’12, an environmental engineering major, is applying what he learns in the classroom to the real-world problem of urban trash disposal.

As an intern with Greeley and Hansen, a national engineering consulting firm, Melchionni recently tackled complex wastewater and infrastructure challenges in New York City.

In a three-month project that began last summer, he helped design a wastewater treatment plant and a marine transfer station for New York City.

Melchionni was paired with an environmental engineering mentor from Greeley and Hansen who helped him assimilate into the program.

“It worked well because my mentor bridged the gap between me and the other engineers, who had been working on these projects for a long time,” he says.
A framework for excellence

John C. Robak, executive vice president and chief operating officer of Greeley and Hansen, said the firm seeks to provide student interns with useful tools.

“Our internship program offers students the opportunity to contribute to the firm’s passion for delivering engineering solutions that sustain valuable water resources and create better urban environments,” Robak said.

“We believe the program is a unique blend of hands-on experience and mentoring in a professional work environment.”

Melchionni says his Lehigh classes prepared him for the challenge of working side by side with seasoned engineers.

“Lehigh gave me a great framework to build upon. The internship allowed me to transfer the knowledge I learned in the classroom over to industry. They complemented each other well.”

Melchionni was chosen to take part in Greeley and Hansen’s Designing Your Future Leadership Conference in Chicago, where he learned about career management and leadership development.

“It was a great experience, because I learned where the industry is headed and how to keep growing as an engineer.”

Melchionni plays soccer at Lehigh and was selected for the Rossin Junior Fellows program.

He looks forward to graduating and applying his knowledge to additional environmental problems.

“I’ve always been intrigued by issues of water scarcity and water management,” he says. “I hope to tackle some of those issues as well.”