Outstanding Graduate, Spring 2021
Before coming to Arizona State University for engineering, Isabella Foster remembers sitting in a pre-calculus course at Scottsdale Community College as a high school student and realizing how much sense it made to her.
“That’s when I started looking into engineering degrees where I could make a difference, environmentally,” Foster says. “ASU provided various environmental and sustainability paths and I wanted to be a part of improving our planet, not just be a bystander.”
She applied to the environmental and resource management degree at The Polytechnic School, one of the six schools in the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering at ASU because the program offered the foundations for a variety of career paths.
“As environmental and resource management students, we learn chemistry, biology and math, but we also learn about the law and management,” Foster says. “The curriculum is so diverse and there are so many directions I can go with this degree.”
While at ASU, Foster joined the environmental and resource management club where she eventually became vice president. She also did a waste audit for the Polytechnic campus, providing data to support a better trash pickup schedule while monitoring contamination of the waste. She balanced all of this while maintaining a demanding job.
Off-campus, Foster had the opportunity to lead a report for the City of Glendale. She and her team conducted research and advised city officials on how to increase public participation in the city’s recycling program and decrease the amount of improper recycling that occurs.
“I learned a lot from this experience,” she says. “I facilitated the report, presented it to city officials and our advice was put to real use. It made me hopeful that I can help better our world.”
Foster says she was inspired by Senior Lecturer Al Brown.
“I’ve had him as a professor for almost all of my semesters at ASU and he continues to influence me to become a devoted and educated environmental professional.”
Following graduation, Foster plans to become an environmental consultant and eventually a plant manager of a water treatment plant.
“I want to play a part in trying to figure out how to best get new and emerging contaminants out of our water system,” she says.
“My goal is to protect all living things that struggle to survive and thrive,” Foster says. “I look forward to actively participating in bettering our environment with the skills I have gained at ASU.”