Staying close to home

By Graduate Ambassador Allison Diehl, a master's student in environmental and sustainability engineering

I have been pursuing my master’s in environmental and sustainability engineering at Wayne State University since fall 2022. I chose Wayne State University because of my undergrad experience in the civil engineering program and how well I feel it prepared me for a career in water engineering upon graduating. Not only did I grow very fond of the professors at Wayne State, but the research opportunities as an undergrad were incomparable.

In the civil and environmental engineering department, a lot of the research projects focus on environmental issues within the city of Detroit. This allows research students to be more involved in the community they are studying in and allows Wayne State to help local communities in Detroit.  Growing up in Warren and visiting Detroit as a kid has really made me glad I stayed close to home for college because I have been able to see these communities grow and flourish, while I have continued to grow as well.

Because of my passion for Detroit, I now have found myself working in research again as a graduate student in the Sustainable-Water-Environmental-Energy-Technology Lab, where we are focusing on a project to identify and address below-ground hot spots for Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) vapor intrusion in complex urban settings.  VOCs are largely recognized as a public health concern in the city of Detroit due to their frequent presence in post-industrial environments and their impact on public health from exposure, which has been associated with higher rates of asthma and preterm births.

Being a part of this project and the community at Wayne State has been a very fulfilling journey for me.  I can’t thank Dr. Yongli Wager, my research advisor, enough for being such a great mentor to me as an undergrad and graduate student.  My decision to attend Wayne State University will be a decision I am always grateful for.

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