I was born and raised in the glorious city of Madison Wisconsin. As I grew up surrounded by cheese, corn fields, and Packers Football, I also managed to develop an inclination for mathematics and physics.
Following that inclination into college, I ended up studying and majoring in Physics and Mathematics. I did undergraduate research in Astronomy, specifically on pulsating variable stars, but as I read and learned more and more about the cosmos, and our place in the universe, I began to develop a strong need and powerful desire to offer my efforts towards the science and engineering of environmental sustainability.
In Carl Sagan’s book “The Pale Blue Dot” he offers a beautiful contemplation regarding our place and role on this planet:
“It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience... To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we've ever known.”
This quote has served as the quintessential summary of my career hopes and motivations: that I may help and contribute to making this planet, and all the beauties and glorious splendors it has to offer, sustainable and protected, such that it may be enjoyed and cherished throughout many more generations.
When I began investigating the possibility of graduate school. My undergraduate research adviser got me in touch with several alumni who pursued graduate degrees, and I learned from them exactly how I would grow from a PhD program. I was enamored.
Four years later, I now study air quality in and its health effects on developing communities. Specifically, I perform chemical analysis on emissions from trash burning, charcoal making, diesel backup generators, kerosene lanterns, and several other commonplace combustion sources in rural Ghana.
My analysis aims to improve our understanding of what are the major source contributors to ambient pollution in these regions and how they might be mitigated to improve health and avoid loss of human wellbeing.
Choosing CU Boulder
In searching graduate schools, I found very few engineering programs with a focus on environmental sustainability as strong as CU Boulder. That combined with the beauty of the city made my decision to attend CU an easy one.
Although I have a special place in my heart for cornfields and Midwestern plains, I consider moving to this part of the country and experiencing the perspectives, people, and mindset of this school to be one my greatest decisions.
I think having the Rocky Mountains right at our doorstep is so powerful. It serves as a constant reminder of the majesties this earth has to offer, and the reason we must work so hard to preserve and protect them. I truly believe this view is held within many of the faculty and graduate students here – and it helps to create a culture in our school filled with broad perspective, respect, and care.
Obvious beauties of Boulder aside, the people that make up the departments here are incredible. You can have a school at the foot of the Flat Irons, but it is the faculty and fellow graduate students here that make it a home.
The encouraging atmosphere, spirit of perseverance, and inspiring mentorship that exist here provide such wonderful nourishment for any aspiring graduate student hoping to better themselves and eventually their world.