Shuhaib Nawawi Awarded Richard F. and Eleanor A. Towner Prize

The College of Engineering honored ESE graduate Shuhaib Nawawi for his excellent research in sustainable energy as well as his leadership and service to the community.

Shuhaib Nawawi was named a 2019-20 recipient of the College of Engineering’s Richard F. and Eleanor A. Towner Prize for Distinguished Academic Achievement. This prize is given to outstanding graduate students in recognition of their active participation in research, leadership, and academic performance. 

“As an undergraduate student, I saw these opportunities but didn’t think I deserved them but saw the application for the Towner Award and thought I may have a chance,” Shuhaib humbly said of his expectation of winning. “I was still surprised when I found out I had won and am grateful that the College of Engineering has recognized me with this award.” 

Shuhaib is from a small town in Malaysia near the border of Thailand. At age 13, Shuhaib received a scholarship to attend a private boarding school far from home. Even though this school was over 10 hours away by bus, he doesn’t regret going because it taught him about other educational opportunities from around the world.

After graduating high school, Shuhaib was awarded a sponsorship from the Malaysian oil and gas company PETRONAS, which paid for his undergraduate education in exchange for him agreeing to work for the company upon his completion of college.This allowed Shuhaib to apply to the University of Michigan, a place where he wanted to come for his education after speaking with U-M alumni he knew and seeing their success. Shuhaib was accepted in the Mechanical Engineering program here at the University and even did one semester abroad at Shanghai Jiao Tong University.

Once he graduated with his Bachelor’s degree, Shuhaib asked for a work deferment for one year to pursue his Master’s. He was granted this deferment to study here as an Energy Systems Engineering (ESE) major within Integrative Systems and Design. While a full-time student, Shuhaib worked as a research assistant serving the U-M President’s Commission on Carbon Neutrality where he recommended strategies to reduce carbon emissions from university buildings. Shuhaib was also a Planet Blue Student Leader and led an energy efficiency team that looked at low to no-cost energy-saving solutions in Pierpont Commons such as using LED light bulbs and regulating the overall temperature in the building. His team also looked into waste management in the food service area and ways to improve composting.

Shuhaib graduated in May, and this summer will begin a fellowship with the Environmental Defense Fund Climate Corps in San Francisco, California, working with Tenderloin Neighborhood Development Corporation, a nonprofit that focuses on providing affordable housing for low-income people. Specifically, working with the Sustainability Team, Shuhaib will recommend sustainable materials procurement for new construction. After this experience, he is currently planning to return to Malaysia to work for PETRONAS, which is the country’s only Fortune Global 500 company. He is most interested in renewable energy and hopes to join their New Energy department. Shuhaib is determined to use the knowledge he has gained through the ESE degree program to help with the global transition to cleaner and more sustainable energy systems and be a part of the climate change solution.