Published: March 1, 2019

Name: Yu Hong (Lisa) Wang
Hometown: Johannesburg, South Africa
Program: Environmental Engineering

"This department holds a warming place in my heart as I am greeted by smiling faces who genuinely care about each other."

Lisa Wang

I was born in China, Qingdao, an attractive coastal city with influences from both Germany and Japan. I grew up in Johannesburg, South Africa, a beautiful country known for its communal diversity. Growing up in a competitive all-girls British school, I had developed a love for reading and baking, alongside swimming and distance running. Recently my friends have convinced me to rock climb with them, which is also an incredibly rewarding sport. I am a senior in the Environmental Engineering Program focusing specifically on Indoor Air Quality, doing research with Professor Shelly Miller.

I plan to graduate with a BS in December 2019 and hope to continue graduate school here at CU. I love working with people, so I would say that the greatest accomplishment of my education so far is being able to build life-lasting relationships with the very people I have the honor to attend classes with. I’m incredibly passionate about God and hope to be used someday in Women’s ministry as a female engineer. My favorite place on campus right now is probably the newly furnished SEEC building. It’s a privilege to accompany research and homework with the magnificent view of the Flatirons right outside your window.

How did you choose to study Environmental Engineering at CU? What sets apart CU’s Environmental Engineering Program?

Besides the gorgeous winter campus pictures all over the internet, I chose CU for our ranking in EVEN and it was the most affordable school for my circumstance.

After the first semester in Environmental Engineering, I switched out to Mechanical, thinking that I could take an alternative route to where I wanted to be. After further inspection of my classes in junior year, I switched back into Environmental Engineering, finally understanding the path I want to pursue. I love solving challenging environmental problems, more than any other problem in the field of Engineering. I realized soon after that the Environmental Engineering Program at CU focuses not only on academia but every single faculty uplifts individual students in our department. When I walk into the Environmental Wing in the Engineering Centre, I am greeted by smiling faces of people who genuinely appreciate another individual outside of their intended academic or career path. That is why this department holds a warming place in my heart.

What enrichment activities (including internships, research, study abroad, etc.) have you been involved in at CU? How have these affected your experience here?

I have had the privilege to be part of the Engineering Honors Program, where I have encountered many talented, passionate engineering peers and friends. My freshman year, I gained insight on the technical field working for a start-up robotics company. My sophomore and junior years have stimulated my passion for academia and solving problems in a formal institution, learning to collaborate with people who are often older and more experienced than me. A slightly different community, however, has helped me grow from a freshman girl in STEM to a woman in STEM, is my ministry Christian Challenge.
I have gained a new understanding of how to influence and bless others as a Christian in engineering. Stepping out of this department, to a smaller community can sometimes be overwhelming as we lose hope to try to implement change in the world. However, to aim for a larger purpose, I can shift my perspective, putting on a different set of lenses to dream small and look towards the needs of my immediate vicinity to implement change. In my engineering classes, I’ve suddenly understood how to practically view every problem with a step by step mindset starting with changing my own thoughts, engaging my classmates and colleagues in the process before trying to ‘fix and change our society’.

What is a highlight of your academic career at CU? This could be a class, lab, project or research.

In the summer of 2018, through a research program by CU, I was able to work with Professor Shelly Miller. Professor Miller introduced me to the world of air pollution control, specifically focusing on indoor air quality. Currently, I am working on a project with the City of Boulder, trying to understand the benefits of public health relating to indoor air quality with a transition to cleaner energy in Boulder. Americans spend an average of 70-90% of our time indoors, so indoor air is one of the main factors that contribute to respiratory health. I love sharing ideas with people who come from such different backgrounds than I do. It’s been superbly rewarding.

What do you plan to do after graduating from CU? How has your educational experience helped you prepare for this?

I plan to stay at CU for an MS degree and hope to continue this path in academia. Rigorous engineering classes has helped nurture my stamina and time management skills to take on a lot more than I ever thought I could handle. And, of course, EVEN was what started my interest in the field of air pollution in the first place.