Sarah Carpenter: Future Wastewater Engineer


Sarah Carpenter’s favorite toys growing up were Legos. She liked the challenge of designing and building structures, and she daydreamed about using her math and science skills in the real world to help others.

At Ohio Northern University, Sarah is turning her childhood imaginings into a viable career path by majoring in civil engineering, with a concentration in environmental engineering and a minor in applied mathematics.

“After graduation I want to work in wastewater engineering with a focus on turning wastewater into an energy source, or sanitizing it to supply clean water to people who don’t have easy access,” she said. “This is something I’ve always been passionate about, and civil engineering is giving me a great path to reach that goal.”

Starting her first year on campus, Sarah has learned by doing in labs, the classroom, and the real world.

“There are so many resources at our disposal for hands-on learning,” she says. “And I just love the small school environment and close relationships I have been able to build both with fellow students and faculty members.”

Photo of Sarah in front of Engineering building

The College of Engineering helped her land internships with the city of Dublin and with HNTB, an engineering contract firm. At HNTB she worked on the future-focused National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) Formula program.

“I got to travel around the state to different public engagement meetings, seeing firsthand what the public thinks about the plans for EV charging in Ohio. Overall, I learned a lot about sustainability efforts throughout the country.”

Sarah also became involved in more than a half dozen campus organizations, including Student Senate, Delta Zeta, Society of Women Engineers, and Good News Bears. Her favorites are Student Senate because she engages with fellow students to improve campus life, and Delta Zeta for its focus on community service.

“I’ve always had a passion for serving and helping people, especially those who are underserved or underprivileged,” she said.

And soon, thanks to her ONU education, Sarah will be able to serve others as a wastewater engineer.

“At ONU, professors care about teaching and they care about your academic success. They are in your corner,” she said. “I know I’ll always look back and be proud to be a Polar Bear.”