Randi Mendes is a Ph.D. candidate in Environmental Engineering at University of Connecticut (UConn). She will be the first in her family to receive a Ph.D. She is writing her dissertation on what controls the production of nitrous oxide, a greenhouse gas, in wetlands. She received her Master’s in Environmental Engineering at UConn and her Bachelor of Science in Ecological Engineering from Oregon State University (OSU). From a young age, Randi has been highly involved in outreach and leadership. Starting from volunteer hours in veterinary hospitals and soup kitchens, participating and coordinating trash clean ups, to graduating high school as the student body president. In undergrad, Randi was a part of Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP) program, a program designed to support and further the education of underrepresented minorities (URM) in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) majors. She entered OSU as a participant in the bridge program and eventually became a peer mentor for the following 3 years until her graduation. She was also an engineering ambassador. Randi maintained her education, 2 jobs, and part time involvement in undergraduate research in the field of environmental and ecological engineering, funded by NSF.
During her time at UConn, Randi continued her efforts in outreach and leadership. She was President of the Student Association of Graduate Engineers (SAGE) where she planned and coordinated professional development events for graduate engineering students. She also founded the John Lof Leadership Academy. As a two-term president of JLLA, she created an exclusive academy for graduate engineering students to learn how to be leaders. The program focused on the development of the individual leader and ran by a “for us, by us” mentality. The organization also proudly uses its voice and efforts to support activism and outreach and in its second year has grown by 100%. Continuing to do a million things, Randi maintains her phd studies, while working 2 jobs, running 2 organizations, and leading activism groups. Currently Randi is working for the Explore Engineering program, a program to engage high school students with engineering, at UConn, wherein she will be teaching the Civil and Environmental section. Randi plans to graduate in December 2020 and work in environmental consulting.
Randi is a skilled science communicator and runs Enviroeng By Randi, an immersive, science-based Instagram.