Julie Bliss, ‘12

Hometown: Uxbridge, MA
BF, Environmental Engineering and BA, Environment and Sustainability Studies

Why did you choose WPI?
I am the first person from my family to attend college and was excited to be chosen by a school that had as excellent a reputation as WPI. I liked the high-paced term schedule over traditional semesters and was drawn to the projects program. I’m the kind of person who truly appreciates applying what I have learned in the classroom to the real world.

How has WPI’s philosophy of Theory and Practice, and working with teams, been beneficial to you during your time at WPI?
I am very interested in not only learning material, but applying it in a meaningful way. WPI’s philosophy of Theory and Practice makes what you’re learning more enjoyable and real; more importantly, it makes you realize why your classes are so important and why you’re learning what you are.

What do you think are WPI’s greatest strengths? Its students define WPI.
They are a very unique group of people who allow you to be your own person without judgment. You will find well-rounded students here who, like yourself, value the opportunities WPI offers and thrive in the fast-paced, project-based environment.

How have the professors in your particular department impacted your studies and your life?
Professor Creighton Peet has become a mentor to me and has helped me in so many important ways. I’ve traveled to Guatemala twice with him with the WPI chapter of Engineering Without Borders to work on rain water harvesting systems and sustainable stoves. Being an anthropologist, he offers a needed social perspective to our projects. He dedicates much of his time to the club, attends all of the meetings, and provides invaluable advice. He is involved in numerous community organizations and encourages his students to do so as well. His door is always open and he is always willing to help.

What are your research projects?
For my Major Qualifying Project (MQP), I am working with a group of chemical engineers to find techniques for removing the toxicity of chemicals found in fire-fighting foams and industrial foams found in sprinkler systems; these chemicals are leaching into drinking water facilities and finding their way into the public’s drinking supply because of poor regulation. I am working with John Bergendahl in the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department and Nikolaos Kazantzis in the Chemical Engineering Department. Additionally, in order to fulfill the other component of the MQP for my double major, I am working under Robert Krueger on the application of policy in this project. I’m investigating the real-world implications, feasibility, and practicality of the solutions we are proposing.

What do you hope to do when you graduate?
I plan on obtaining my MS in Environmental engineering here at WPI. Currently, I have an internship in the Drinking Water Department of the EPA in Boston in their transitional program, which will allow me to transition to a full-time employee after graduation. I believe the reason I was chosen for this internship was my real-world experiences through WPI.

Groups or extracurricular activities in which you participate at WPI:

  • Engineers Without Borders: Chair of the fundraising committee and participant of the technical committee.
  • Student Government Association: president
  • The President’s Task Force on Sustainability: student representative
  • Engineering Student Advisory council: student representative
  • American Society of Student Engineers
  • Phi Sigma Sigma Women’s fraternity

Academic or professional awards you have received:

  • Koerner Family Fellowship for Academic Excellence and Leadership, 2012
  • Elijah & Louise Romanoff Scholarship, 2011
  • Crimson and Grey Award for Campus Leadership, 2011
  • Wayne and Kenneth Shiatte Scholarship, 2009 - present
  • Phi Sigma Sigma New Member of the Year, 2009
  • Dean’s List, 2008/2009
  • WPI President’s Award Scholarship, 2008 – present

Additional comments you would like to include
WPI opens so many doors to its students with its organizations, academics, and real-world experiences. If you take advantage of these opportunities, you will leave a changed person.

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