"My favorite activity by far is the Bucknell Brigade. I thought I was a pretty socially aware person before I went to Nicaragua, but to see things in person and meet the people who live every day in that kind of poverty was a really powerful experience for me."

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Class of 2012 update: After graduation, Carolyn is headed to the University of Wisconsin-Madison to pursue a doctorate in civil engineering.

Why Bucknell?

"My mother and my aunt both came here, and I thought I would be unoriginal if I chose Bucknell. My senior year in high school, I came to Bucknell for Homecoming with my aunt, who is a civil engineer. We talked to Professor Mike Toole during the academic village lunch that day and within 30 minutes he showed me that what I thought I wanted to accomplish as an environmental scientist are actually things that environmental or civil engineers would do. Once I decided I wanted to do engineering, Bucknell was the obvious choice because of the very rare combination that we have of an engineering college combined with a liberal arts experience.

"Also, I think it's very important to have the focus that professors have on undergraduates here. I know people who are at similar universities but because there are more graduate students they really don't have as good of a relationship as I do with my professors, and that's really made a big difference here." 

My major

"My favorite part is that I'm actually learning how to solve the problems I've always been worried about. My dad was a botanist and my mom works at a land preservation nonprofit, so preserving and restoring land has always been something that I've really cared about. With engineering you actually get to solve those problems which seem so intimidating initially.

"I like the idea of using living organisms and processes to help deal with man-made environmental problems. And I really like the fact that I know that with every class that I take that I'm doing what I want to do."

My activities

"I do a lot of environmental things: I'm studying to take the LEED exam through the green building club, I'm on the Campus Greening Council as a student representative and I'm involved in the environmental club. I also belong to the Environmental Res College. As a presidential fellow, I do research with Professor Higgins. We're trying to look at and quantify the concentration of phthalates in drinking water; those are plasticizers in drinking water that affect the endocrine system.

"My favorite activity by far is the Bucknell Brigade. I thought I was a pretty socially aware person before I went to Nicaragua, but to see things in person and meet the people who live every day in that kind of poverty was a really powerful experience for me. Since I've been back I've been involved a lot in the fundraising efforts for the health care clinic.

"And I actually enjoy playing pinochle at Riverwoods once a week with some of the residents there; that's a lot of fun for me."

Carolyn is from West Chester, Pa.

Posted Jan. 12, 2011
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