KINGSTON, R.I. – February 28, 2019 — Having grown up in the shadows of the University of Rhode Island’s Kingston campus, Aly Fairbrother looked forward to attending the University since she was very young.
“I used to study at the URI library when I was in high school just so I could walk around the campus,” the West Kingston resident said. “My older brother graduated from URI as a mechanical engineering major, which further influenced my decision.”
Fairbrother entered URI as an ocean engineering major, but after an internship in 2016 with the Portsmouth Water and Fire District, where she gathered GPS data for a waterworks system and shadowed field operators, she decided to switch to civil and environmental engineering.
“I interned for Bill McGlinn, who was the head of the water and fire district for 29 years,” said the senior. “He inspired me with his passion for the field and taught me the ropes of working for a public water utility. He’s continued to be a mentor who I keep in touch with regularly.”
Over the following two summers, Fairbrother completed internships at the U.S. Naval War College in Newport and the Wright-Pierce environmental engineering firm in Providence.
Because Fairbrother excelled at her internships and in her engineering courses, she was nominated for a scholarship from the Providence Engineering Society, which is the oldest professional engineering society in the United States.
Fairbrother was awarded the scholarship in 2018, and again this year at the Society’s annual banquet, held on Feb. 13 at the Providence Biltmore. This year’s scholarship was worth $2,600, the largest amount that has been awarded since the scholarship was created more than 20 years ago.
“I’m very honored to have received this scholarship,” Fairbrother said. “I work at least 20 hours a week while in school, so this scholarship provides some relief from a huge financial burden.”
What makes the memorial scholarship more significant to Fairbrother is that it is named after Ronald C. Jalbert, who was a close colleague of McGlinn.
Fairbrother is currently interning at Tighe & Bond, an engineering and environmental consulting services firm in Providence, where she plans on working full-time this summer.
“My passion definitely lies in the environmental side of civil engineering,” Fairbrother stated. “I hope to design water and wastewater systems someday. I also hope to give back to the memorial scholarship that has had a big impact on my education.”