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Student Success Marie Schoenenberger

  • Environmental Healer

    Following Mom's footsteps in her own way 

    We asked Marie Schoenenberger (’13) why she went into environmental engineering. Her answer was quite thought-provoking. Here’s what she had to say:

    "My mother is a physical therapist. That path is something that I never ever thought about pursuing when I entered Saint Francis University’s Environmental Engineering program, but as it turns out, I followed it in my own way. SFU environmental engineering  grad Schoenberger

    I initially was caught up in the “Go green!” hype that brought with it renewable energy, recycling, and a bunch of vegetarians (myself included). I looked for a small school that was not too far from my home in eastern Pennsylvania, and there was pretty much a choice of one that had the major and concentration in renewable energy that I wanted. But as I encountered orange polluted stream after orange polluted stream in Appalachia, I found that I wanted to fix the scars that unsustainable environmental practices gave to the Earth.

    Thus, I took on another concentration in ecological engineering, which gave me the ability to do so, in a way that meshed with the surrounding ecosystems. With that, I’ve designed treatment wetlands for wastewater, ecolatrines for a culturally sensitive site, and flown to Bolivia’s Altiplano to study and therefore further the possibilities of remediation of some of the most polluted water in the world!

    Beyond Saint Francis, I’ve carried with me the academic preparation, as well as the spiritual growth in Franciscan values, first to SUNY-ESF, where I completed a Master’s on yet another stressed ecosystem - the Solvay waste beds at Onondaga Lake (a Superfund site), and the health of and environmental interactions with their soil microbes and not to FX Browne Inc where we specialize in ecological solutions to engineering problems. So in a sense I have become a healer, not of the human body, but of its home."

    Environmental Engineering at SFU