Spring 2021 College of Engineering student marshal: Carissa Moyna, senior in civil engineering

Major: Civil Engineering

Hometown: Elkader, Iowa

Clubs and activities: Engineers for a Sustainable World – Compost Team, Freshman Leaders in Engineering (FLiE), Society of Women Engineers, Green Energy Challenge Team, Saint Thomas Aquinas church, and intramural teams for basketball, curling, broomball, and Battleship H2O

Awards and honors: The 2020 LiveGreen! Excellence in Sustainability Award, ISU 2020 MBA Case Competition 1st Place Team, 2021 Ivy College of Business New Business Idea Pitch Competition Winner, 2019 National Udall Environmental Scholar, ISU 2020 Women in STEM, and the College of Engineering Dean’s List

Who was your most influential mentor while at Iowa State?
My most influential mentor is Merry Rankin, the ISU Director of Sustainability. Merry is a shining light with her positive energy and grounded outlook on sustainability. She has inspired me in my work with composting at Iowa State and beyond.

What would you consider your greatest accomplishments at ISU?
My greatest accomplishment at Iowa State was planning and implementing the compost system at Freddy Court which was two years in the making. It makes my heart so happy seeing fellow Iowa State students participating in composting on our campus.

What’s your favorite place on campus?
Sitting in the Sukup Atrium—It’s a magnificent space and the artwork is lovely to look at.

What do you like to do in your free time?
In my free time, I enjoy reading, spending time in nature by either hiking or biking, traveling, helping others start composting, and trying new things. I tried laser tag for the first time last semester!

What’s one lesson you’re taking away from this challenging pandemic year?
The pandemic has taught me to not take time with people for granted. It was and still can be super isolating away from friends and family, so I will take care to not take concerts, weddings, and other large gatherings for granted in the future.

What’s your advice for first-year students just starting at Iowa State engineering students?
My advice for first-year engineering students is to never be afraid to ask for help. I encourage you to form study groups, get a tutor, or go to your professor’s office hours (this is how I got through physics).

What are your plans for after graduation?
I am currently applying for the CyStarters program this summer and to a year-long missionary program called A Simple House in Washington, D.C. I plan to take a year devoting time to serving others and then return to Iowa to start my composting business.

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