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Outstanding Graduate, Spring 2023

Tianna Chemello

Tianna Chemello describes Arizona’s arid desert environment where she was born and raised as a place “where water is as precious as gold and seemingly just as rare.”

The challenges such conditions present sparked her aspiration to become an engineer with a focus on water treatment processes to help communities gain and maintain access to clean water.

Chemello’s efforts in and beyond her coursework to earn an environmental engineering degree demonstrate a strong commitment to her goal.

She has been president of the Arizona State University student Society of Water and Environmental Leaders. Before stepping into the leading role, however, Chemello was the organization’s vice president when the coronavirus pandemic erupted and all but decimated its membership. Taking it largely upon herself to lead the group’s slow but steady resurgence has been “an extremely challenging but rewarding experience,” she says.

Chemello also completed a summer internship in a laboratory in Freiberg, Germany, to study historical trends in the development of water reservoirs.

For that project, she developed an application in English, then translated it into German, to enable the efficient use of 25 years’ worth of data derived from five lakes encompassing more than 20 environment-related variables. 

Beyond what she has accomplished through her own persistence and ingenuity, Chemello credits fellow environmental engineering students for what they have contributed to her education.

“I have been wonderfully surprised by the strong sense of community. Everyone is incredibly kind and supportive,” she says. “I wouldn’t be where I am today without them.”

Among her teachers and mentors such gratitude extends in particular to Sergi Garcia Segura, an assistant professor of environmental engineering in the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering.

“His passion for teaching and learning is unparalleled and he has a sense of wonder for things in the world that most of us don’t normally see,” Chemello says. “He has taught me to ask questions without hesitation and relentlessly pursue knowledge, all with an engineering mindset of ethics, safety and innovation.”

After graduating from the bachelor’s degree program, Chemello will continue her academic endeavors through the Fulton Schools Accelerated Master’s degree program in civil, environmental and sustainable engineering.

Chemello hopes to remain in Arizona and work in the consulting industry to be involved in the design of water treatment plants and delivery systems that will provide clean water “for everyone in our communities now, as well as for future generations,” she says.

“My academic and professional path is geared to implementing innovative treatment facilities, especially where there is aging infrastructure, so people can benefit from the latest advances in technology,” Chemello says. “Efficient treatment operations are vital for water conservation, which will decrease the environmental stress on our already drought-ridden region.”

Read about other exceptional graduates of the Fulton Schools’ Spring 2023 class here.

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