Minute in my shoes: Engineering student shares her passion for a sustainable future

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Carly Byrne, junior in mechanical engineering, didn’t always know she wanted to go into engineering, but now she thinks its the path toward a more sustainable future and a career that checks all the boxes of her multifaceted personality. (Abigail Compton | Collegian Media Group)

Carly Byrne, junior in mechanical engineering, didn’t always know she wanted to go into engineering.

“My mom’s an artist. I grew up in a very creative family and everybody thought I was going to do something super creative,” Byrne said. “And then I went [with] engineering and kind of shocked everybody. [I] chose it last minute.”

Byrne said she hopes to end up putting her own creative flare on her future career.

“I hope to make it my own,” Byrne said. “[I want to] make the most of what I want from my job, so look for something that has sustainability in it.”

She said as an engineer she wants to build buildings that eliminate greenhouse gasses. For Byrne, engineering is a way to pursue her logical, creative and sustainability passions.

“I just feel like [engineering] hits all like my core pieces of myself,” Byrne said. “It gives me security, it gives me range to be creative in some ways and I like to use my brain and problem solve, so I’m very logical. It kind of just encompasses my multifaceted personality.”

In an effort to begin pursuing her passion of a sustainable future, Byrne co-created K-State’s new Sustainability Club with her friend Kaitlyn Smallfoot, junior in mechanical engineering. The two are now co-presidents.

“We met freshman year in ME101, [and] became best friends right away,” Byrne said. “We study together all the time — we’re super supportive of each other.”

So far, the group has attracted about 50 members after just a few meetings. They also gained a couple hundred followers on Instagram.

Though the co-presidents come from the College of Engineering, Byrne said they want to make a club open to all majors.

“Everybody’s been really supportive, which I was kind of blown away by,” Byrne said.

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My name is Rebecca Vrbas. I’m the assistant culture editor at the Collegian and a junior in journalism and mass communications. My hobbies include obsessing over an ever-expanding pool of musicals and cats (not the musical). I love writing because of the infinite intricacy of language, as well as its power to cultivate a sense of community through sharing experiences.