Zachary Dieujuste ’21
Sometimes things don’t work out as planned.
As a high school student thinking about college, Zachary Dieujuste had a good idea of what he wanted to study. Influenced by his parents who are emigres from Haiti, he wanted to follow in his father’s footsteps and eventually go into construction but only after completing a useful college degree like his mother who is a professor of nursing. He settled on engineering. The question for this Boston native was: Where would he go?
Dieujuste expected to play competitive soccer in college, and was recruited by Merrimack and other schools. Merrimack made sense: a great soccer tradition, a great engineering program, and close to home. A high school injury ended his plans to play collegiately, but Merrimack was still the right choice for him. He says, “It just had that comfortable, friendly feeling.”
He describes with gratitude all those at Merrimack who influenced his success. First, he references the influence of Rickey A. Caldwell, Jr., assistant professor of mechanical engineering. Caldwell encouraged Dieujuste to establish a chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) at Merrimack. It is one of the largest student-run organizations in the U.S. with a goal to “increase the number of culturally responsible Black engineers who excel academically, succeed professionally, and positively impact the community.” NSBE was recognized as the Outstanding Academic Organization at the Merrimack LEAD Awards virtual ceremony in April 2021.
And though Dieujuste couldn’t play competitive collegiate soccer, he became active with club soccer. Another of his favorite professors, Sadegh Asgari, assistant professor of civil engineering, served as his team coach and helped him see how an engineering degree would prepare him for a career in construction management.
He describes the influence of classmates from his iTEC (Innovation Through Engineering and Computing Science) living and learning community in Deegan West freshman year. He says they “built a family” together and remain close. Merrimack’s Academic Success Program played a role where he says everybody was helpful, staff and student mentors alike. He now serves as a mentor himself and says he wants to give back the way older students guided him along his path to success.
Dieujuste graduated in May 2021, already with a position at United Civil in hand. Early at Merrimack, he connected with the company at a career fair for engineering students. That led to multiple internships, and as a result, he ended up working at United every summer and on school breaks. Now he will begin his career in earnest with this firm that specializes in large scale projects from power plants to schools to hospitals.
The United Civil motto is, “We know how teams work.” Zachary Dieujuste knows about teamwork from playing soccer, engagement with dedicated faculty who mentored him and now from his own outreach encouraging younger students. He says one of the most important things he learned at Merrimack was, “I learned how to learn.”
Zachary Dieujuste is grateful for all of the opportunities afforded him at Merrimack and knows that his experience would not have been possible without support from donors who support The Merrimack Fund.
Hometown: West Roxbury, Mass.
Major: Civil Engineering
Activities: National Society of Black Engineers, Club Soccer, iTEC Living and Learning Community, Academic Success Mentor
LEAD Award: Outstanding Academic Organization (NSBE)