Shrinking her mark on the environment

Name: Brianna Dorie
Graduate program: Engineering education, ecological sciences and engineering
Year: Fifth-year Ph.D.
Hometown: Portland, Oregon

Early inspiration: As a second-grade student, Brianna first learned about the hole in the ozone layer. At that moment, she decided she wanted to be an environmental engineer, and even concocted a brilliant plan only an 8-year-old could think of: Brianna was going to fly a plane and dump ozone back into the hole to fix it. “Of course I never accomplished this goal, but my dream grew and morphed into the educational path I am on now.”

Sustainability steward: As a four-year sustainability intern for Purdue, Brianna helped plan and execute Earth Day and Green Week, and it was under her leadership that the Alternative Transportation Expo was born. She also worked with the Boiler Up, Power Down program and as part of the first cohort for Ecological Sciences and Engineering Interdisciplinary Graduate Program, she co-founded their first symposium “Keeping the World Green: An Interdisciplinary Approach to Sustainability.”

Black, gold and green: Brianna helped conceive the Boiler Green Initiative, an environmentally focused group at Purdue working to change institutional practices and personal habits. “We started as a small group with big ideas. I helped on a few of the initial grants and helped as a liaison to connect people to work on the stadium recycling project.”

Eco education: Realizing that children are like sponges when it comes to learning, Brianna decided to focus her studies on engineering education. For the past five years, she has been involved with the Women in Engineering Program where she educates kindergarten through 12th grade boys and girls on environmental issues and how engineering plays a part in helping solve these problems.

It’s easy being green: Living a sustainable lifestyle isn’t as difficult and complicated as it sounds. “Try to do something green or sustainable every day, and you’ll find out that by the end of the year you have incorporated all these different habits into your lifestyle that have made you a better person. Just a little education can go a long way.”

By Emily Blue