Meet Dana Jurgielewicz ’23, from Easton, CT. An Environmental Science and Team and Project Management double major, Dana enjoys setting big goals and going all out to achieve them.
She’s passionate about the environment and determined to find ways to help people and nature coexist. In a world beset by global warming and other serious environmental concerns, that’s more important than ever. “Every single project people work on should have some type of focus on sustainability and the environment,” she says. “Many people do not realize that there is no Planet B.”
By combining studies in different areas, she’s acquiring the skillset to make an impact. Dana’s Environmental Science major incorporates coursework in chemistry, biology, the social sciences, and history, which gives her the breadth of knowledge needed to understand complex global issues and their context. Her studies in Team and Project Management are teaching her how to unite people behind a single mission. Together, she says, they’re a powerful combination.
“It’s important to be able to step back and say, okay, let me see things from other people's point of views and then find ways to help."
Dana has found a mentor in Associate Professor of Science and Technology Dan McNally, Ph.D. “One of the reasons I came to Bryant was because of the small class size,” she says. “I wanted to get to know my professors and I wanted them to know who I am.” McNally, says Dana, helps his students see important subjects clearly and encourages them to find their own answers.
It’s a lesson that she’s taken to heart. Dana is currently working on her Honors Thesis, which involves studying the effect that increased use of personal protective equipment due to the COVID-19 pandemic is having on the environment. It’s an emerging issue, she says, and one we need to know a lot more about. “The big question is, ‘How can we protect ourselves while still protecting the environment?’” Dana notes.
She’s working to affect change in other ways as well. The Vice President of Bryant’s sustainability focused SustainUS student organization, Dana is also a member of the University’s Sustainability Committee, which brings together students, faculty and staff to promote environmentalism on campus. By acting locally, they’re doing their part to make a difference.
Her desire to aid others and build community extends beyond issues pertaining the environment. Dana is co-president of the honors council, secretary of the Alpha Sigma Alpha sorority, and the secretary for Best Buddies in addition to her role in SustainUS. “As a student able to attend college, I find myself very fortunate in a lot of ways, she says. “It’s important to be able to step back and say, okay, let me see things from other people's point of views and then find ways to help.” It’s an outlook, Dana states, that she learned from her mother.
“To me, to 'Be Bryant' means to never give up. It means to be resilient and not afraid of failure, because if you keep working at it, success will come … eventually.”
This spring, Dana volunteered to be a student mentor for Bryant’s IDEA (Innovation and Design Thinking for All) Program, which teaches first year student how to use creative problem-solving techniques to address big problems. Her group worked on ideas for preserving Narragansett Bay, a perfect fit for her interests and a chance to share her passion with others. “I absolutely loved it. It was great to see the first-year students were so passionate about environmentalism,” she says.
Dana has long aspired to one day work for the Federal Bureau of Investigation in one of their labs. “I want to be able to have an impact on the community,” she says and is applying the same conviction she brings to tackling environmental issues to making her career goals come true.
That determination, she says, is one of the biggest things she’s gained from her three years at Bryant University. “To me, to 'Be Bryant' means to never give up,” Dana says. “It means to be resilient and not afraid of failure, because if you keep working at it, success will come … eventually.”