Pushing the Boundaries of Environmental Engineering

Whether devising new research methods or improving upon existing ones, Ryan Lakner (Chemical Engineering/M.E. Environmental Engineering 4th Year) is driven to make a positive impact on the environment while motivating others to pursue a career in environmental engineering. Illinois Tech’s Accelerated Master’s Program offerings fit well with Ryan’s career aspirations by allowing him to leverage his chemical engineering background to solve environmental issues. In addition, Ryan’s personal interactions with faculty have provided him with the guidance needed to pursue research opportunities aligned with his professional goals.

During summer 2018, Ryan researched statistical methods to improve wastewater treatment through the Armour R&D Summer Research Immersion Program. This research experience played a major role in helping Ryan obtain a summer internship at Argonne National Laboratory through the Science Undergraduate Laboratory Internship program. During his time at Argonne, Ryan made contributions by researching the use of biofuel crops and other vegetation to capture excess fertilizer nutrients before they can pollute water systems.

Along with supportive faculty, Ryan is grateful for his fellow students and describes them as the biggest strength of his degree program. He adds, “They are really helpful, and everyone wants everyone else to succeed.”

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