‘Make the change I want to see’

The NDSU College of Engineering’s newest undergraduate program gives students the skills to create a sustainable future.

“I decided to major in environmental engineering because of how big an issue climate change and global warming have become,” said Kira Eliason, a sophomore from Bismarck, North Dakota. “My thoughts around these issues have always been along the lines of ‘someone else will fix it,’ but towards the end of high school, I realized that it didn't have to be someone else. I could be the person to make the change I want to see.”

“I’ve always been passionate about protecting and saving the environment, and with the world we’re living in, it's hard to ignore the fact that we are facing a very detrimental climate crisis” said Hannah Everett, a sophomore from Fargo. “With the major I’ve chosen, I really do feel like I can make a difference once I graduate.”

NDSU’s Bachelor of Science in environmental engineering degree started in the fall of 2020 and is the first in the state of North Dakota.

“I wanted to study sustainability, and at the time, it looked like the only options were expensive schools, so when I heard about the new NDSU environmental engineering program, it seemed like a perfect fit,” Eliason said.

The program concentrates on environmental protection, improvement and sustainability as well as protection of human health. The goal is to produce graduates with broad scientific and technical knowledge, strong problem-solving skills and leadership ability.

“Since starting the program, I’ve come to realize just how many paths you can take with a degree like this,” Everett said.

“Graduates from our program will use their skills and expertise to help find solutions to some of the world’s most pressing challenges,” said Kelly Rusch, professor of civil, construction and environmental engineering.

Eliason and Everett say the program is challenging, but well worth the hard work. They also say NDSU’s commitment to a world-class student experience stands out.

“NDSU has a great campus environment, full of professors who want to help you succeed in your degree and career for the future,” said Everett.

“My favorite part so far has definitely been the community. I've met some really amazing people on both the staff and within the student body, and being able to connect with them has helped me so much,” Eliason said.