Outstanding Graduate, Fall 2019
Suzanne Schadel didn’t know exactly what she wanted to major in when she got to college. But she was certain Arizona State University was a good choice because of the vast opportunities it offered — and the weather in southern Arizona.
That choice resulted in Schadel becoming one of the first four students to graduate with a degree in environmental engineering from ASU’s Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering.
“I’m really excited to be part of the first graduating class of environmental engineers because I know this field is really important and that it’s going to be expanding so much in the next few years,” she says.
As one of the first students in the program, Schadel was able to work with professors to help shape the curriculum for future classes.
When the environmental engineering program was introduced, she knew it would provide a good mix of her interests in sustainability and engineering.
“I really like environmental engineering because it focuses a lot on environmental regulations, laws and policies and it seems more applicable to future careers,” Schadel says. “If you work as an environmental engineer you’re always out in the field because your job is the environment. It’s a good blend between doing fieldwork and also working with stakeholders, policy and regulations.”
She has taken advantage of three internships during her undergraduate years. In her latest position with AidData during her senior year, Schadel is conducting research funded by the United Nations on the costs of implementing sustainable development goals. The results she is contributing to the international development think tank’s research will be presented at the UN General Assembly in 2020.
Schadel received the WateReuse Arizona scholarship, which funded her travel to the Annual WateReuse Symposium. At that event, she networked with people in careers related to environmental engineering and gained new technical knowledge.
Outside of the classroom, Schadel pursued infrastructure resiliency research through the Fulton Undergraduate Research Initiative. As a member of the Fulton Ambassadors, she showed prospective students what it’s like to study engineering at ASU. She also tutored civil engineering students and was a member of the Sun Devil Water Ski team.
Schadel says she is inspired by people such as climate change activist Greta Thunberg. One of Schadel’s biggest goals for the future is to encourage society to be more sustainable.
“I want to help people make better decisions about how they impact the environment, whether that’s on a personal level, a corporate level, as a consultant or with the government,” she says.