Sarah Busch '18, '19
Virginia Tech Class of ‘18, '19
General Engineer at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
I work as an engineer within the climate change division of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. My role focuses on implementing the Methane Emissions Reduction Program, which aims to reduce methane emissions in the petroleum and natural gas sectors.
As an undergraduate and graduate student at Virginia Tech, I learned about how important our environment is to human health. This led to my passion for making our communities a safer place.
I currently live in the Washington, D.C., area with my husband, a fellow two-time Hokie alumnus. We enjoy visiting museums and spending time outside on the trail or at the tennis court.
My fondest memory from my time in Virginia Tech Engineering is...
I greatly enjoyed the time I spent with my classmates in the civil and environmental engineering department. I spent countless hours in the Patton Hall undergraduate study lounge getting to the bottom of difficult engineering problems. There was so much camaraderie and problem-solving occurring in that room.
How did a scholarship, internship, or undergraduate research opportunity impact your time in the college?
My undergraduate research opportunity in University Distinguished Professor Marc Edwards’ research group was a pivotal experience for me at Virginia Tech. My involvement started right after the research group supported community members during the Flint water crisis. I had the opportunity to work as an undergraduate on urgent water issues, such as water quality testing after several devastating hurricanes in 2017. My work as an undergraduate researcher ultimately led me to pursue a master’s degree within the Edwards group. I hope that my research on opportunistic pathogens in premise plumbing will help protect vulnerable communities from water-based pathogens.
Being a Virginia Tech alumna means...
Giving back to my community with the vigor of Ut Prosim (That I May Serve). Virginia Tech gave me the resources and environment to understand how I can meaningfully contribute to my personal and professional life. I tackle each challenge that comes my way with the passion that Hokie Nation reinforced in me.
What student groups and/or programs helped you most during your time at Virginia Tech?
The Center for the Enhancement of Engineering Diversity (CEED) was the cornerstone of my experience at Virginia Tech. My engagement with CEED started as a first-year student in Hypatia, the living-learning community for women in engineering.
As a new student, I fully underestimated the challenges ahead as both a woman and a first-generation college student, such as understanding the importance of networking and understanding the job application process. I found that my background was very helpful in viewing engineering through a fresh lens. However, I still needed support navigating the implicit knowledge that continuing education students often already have.
CEED equipped me with the skills I needed to excel in classes, pursue internships, and graduate with two engineering degrees. Throughout my undergraduate experience, I continued to receive guidance from CEED as a mentor within Hypatia and as a member of the Galipatia Leadership Team. Most of all, I built a lifelong network of friends through my involvement in the organization.
B.S., Civil and Environmental Engineering, Virginia Tech, 2018
M.S., Civil and Environmental Engineering, Virginia Tech, 2019