College of Engineering Student Spotlight: Mariah Brothersen

Meet Mariah Brothersen, a junior in environmental engineering from Brigham City, Utah. Brotherson is minoring in art and enjoys painting, skiing and hiking in her free time. She has been involved in multiple clubs during her time at Utah State University, and her passion for sustainability has taken her to places like Peru and the 2019 United Nations Conference.

Q: Why did you want to study engineering?

A: I have always been an advocate for environmental conservation, and I wanted an education that would prepare me to be part of the solution to the climate change crisis. Environmental engineering was the perfect fit for me!

Q: Why did you choose to attend USU?

A: I chose to attend Utah State because of its rich engineering culture and the many research opportunities it offers to its undergraduates. I also love how many clubs are available — so far, I’ve participated in Society of Women Engineers, Engineers Without Borders, Concrete Canoe, WEAU and Art Club.

Q: What has been the best part of your engineering education so far?

A: My favorite part of my engineering education so far was my time as international team lead of USU Engineers Without Borders. My team and I designed and implemented projects to improve the lives of individuals in Peruvian communities. We traveled to Peru, met with the locals and built them alpaca shelters and researched water filtration systems.

Q: Are you involved in research?

A: I worked with Dr. Dupont on the on-campus COVID-19 wastewater testing research. We were able to detect traces of COVID-19 in the wastewater of students living on campus, alert the infected student housing complexes, and prevent the virus from spreading. It was an amazing experience to be part of such meaningful work to keep the campus healthy and safe.

Q: What is the best thing you’ve listened to in the past month?

A: I am an avid listener of the podcast “Revisionist History” by Malcom Gladwell. The podcast shines a new light on historical events that were misunderstood or overlooked. It helps to open my mind and makes me look at things with a new perspective.

Q: What’s your favorite place you’ve ever visited?

A: The 2019 United Nations Conference. I met so many people that were making an incredible impact on the world, and it was inspiring to see the projects that these people were working on.

Q: Favorite food?

A: My favorite foods are sushi and plums.

Q: Favorite holiday?

A: Halloween — because it is close to my birthday, and I love to see everybody’s creative costumes.

Q: If you could resolve one problem in the world, what would it be?

A: I would somehow make it possible for every human being to understand the perspective/background of everyone around them. I think that a lot of suffering and heartache could be avoided if people were able to look past themselves and see the world from others’ view. We could progress so much faster as a community if we truly understood the experiences (both good and bad) of everyone around us.

Q: Dream job?

A: Sustainability or green innovation researcher.

Q: Who inspires you?

A: My classmates! The students that I meet in my classes and around campus keep me excited about life and its possibilities. They are so smart, motivated and funny, and I’ve truly made some lifelong friendships at USU.

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