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Benedict's environmental engineering program receives accreditation

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Jessica Furrer (center) head of the Environmental Engineering program at Benedict College, works with students (from left) Isaiah Teasley, Ahmed El-Qaouaq and Ashleigh Reeves. (Photo/Provided)

Benedict College is now the first historically Black college or university in South Carolina to offer an accredited environmental engineering program.

The college’s Environmental Engineering program recently received its initial accreditation by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology, the national organization that accredits undergraduate programs in engineering, engineering technology and computer science.

Benedict is one of only two HBCUs in the state to offer a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Engineering, according to a news release from the college. The only other accredited program in South Carolina is at Clemson University.

Since Benedict’s program started in 2012, enrollment has more than doubled, according to information released by Benedict.

“ABET accreditation is the recognized seal of approval that validates that our environmental engineering program meets the highest standards and positions our graduates to pursue careers as licensed engineers,” said Roslyn Clark Artis, president and CEO of Benedict College.

The program’s 2022 graduating class had a 100% hiring rate. The program prepares students for careers in water and wastewater treatment, solid waste management, remediation of polluted sites and air quality engineering.

Typically, students take internships during the summer with environmental engineering-related firms or in research labs at Benedict College and other schools. During this time, they complete a senior design project in partnership with local engineering firms or the City of Columbia.

“ABET accreditation is game-changing for Benedict’s environmental engineering program in terms of recruiting and the opportunities available to our students after they graduate,” said Jessica Furrer, program head and ABET coordinator. “Employers look for students to have an ABET-accredited degree because it gives them confidence that they are well-prepared for a career in environmental engineering.”

Reach Christina Lee Knauss at 803-753-4327.

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