2022 Graduate Stories

Engineering a Path Toward a Career in Renewable Energy

By Melanie Thibeault
A headshot of Hannah Darling

Hannah Darling ’22, an Engineering major with an Environmental Specialization who minored in both Sustainability Studies and Mathematics, will be joining UMass Amherst’s Mechanical Engineering (Wind Power Engineering) Ph.D. program in the fall as both an ELEVATE and Sisson fellow.

Eye-opening Internships: I had two engineering internship experiences that allowed me to further explore my options in a professional setting and network with people from various fields. My first internship was in highway engineering with the Massachusetts Department of Transportation. My second internship was with Loureiro Engineering Associates. I work as an energy and environmental engineering intern, where I’ve been helping with various energy and environmental related tasks (including on-site visits, soil sampling, data verification, report writing, etc.). This was a great experience and opportunity to network and gain important professional skills. Even though my internships weren’t exactly in the area I’m interested in, they were still great experiences even to see what I don’t want to do. I am definitely more interested in renewable energy, specifically wind. 

Club Involvement Boosts Leadership Skills: I was involved in two Engineering Clubs at RWU: Engineers Without Borders (EWB) and the Society of Women Engineers (SWE). I served as an EWB secretary the end of my sophomore into junior year and as the president the end of my junior year into senior year. I served as the SWE vice president the end of my junior year into senior year. These clubs have prepared me for life after Roger as they allowed me to make connections with people outside of my classes and to gain important organizational and leadership skills that I can use going  forward into the future.  

Working with Engineering Experts: All my Engineering professors were very attentive, supportive and genuinely cared about whether we were learning the material. One professor that had the most impact on me was Dr. Maija Benitz. I had Dr. Benitz for three classes, and she has always been an inspiration for me as a woman in Engineering and as a person overall. She really cares about her students and is very approachable and accessible. She’s also the person who gave me the push and encouragement I needed to pursue my Ph.D. 

Darling is from Lakeville, Mass.  

Every May, as Commencement nears, RWU spotlights members of the graduating class. Suggestions are welcome. Email: stories@rwu.edu 

2022 Graduate Stories