Anna Walsh

Hometown: Clarendon Hills, IL
Major: Independent Studies- Environmental Health & International Affairs
College: Bouvè College of Health Sciences

What was you favorite Honors class?

My favorite Honors class was Organic Chemistry 2 Honors with Oyindasola Oyelaran. It was certainly one of the hardest classes I’ve ever taken, but I loved how the class went beyond rote memorization and pushed me to understand all of the underlying mechanisms behind what I was learning. It required more creativity and problem-solving than any other science class I had taken, which really cemented my interest in the organic chemistry side of environmental engineering.

During your time at Northeastern, what experiences shaped who you are today as a graduating senior?

At the end of my second year, after unsuccessfully trying out a few different majors, I decided to create an independent major in environmental health. The process was surprisingly long and difficult, but it shaped my college experience far beyond my coursework.
The major required me to find three faculty mentors to help make the course plan and guide me over the next few years. Each has a significantly different background and research interests, which helped me narrow down my own interests. As I found myself gravitating towards lab work, engineering, and chemistry, I started working with the mentor whose research focuses on environmental organic chemistry. Now I’ve nearly finished my Honors Interdisciplinary Thesis and my Capstone in this lab, both of which have helped me become comfortable with some of the techniques and theory in my field and cemented my desire to continue doing research.
Creating the major also helped me realize that a bit of determination and initiative can take me a long way. In setting up co-ops, working on projects in the lab, and even in applying to graduate school, this has allowed me to get the most out of each experience.

What is your best memory from being a part of the Honors Program?

The Honors Interdisciplinary Thesis has been a great experience and certainly my favorite part of being in the Honors Program. I really enjoyed being able to chose a topic that interests me and then be responsible for carrying out each step of the project (with plenty of guidance from my advisor, of course). The whole process, from creating a proposal and budget to presenting my research, has helped me understand many of considerations that go into a research project from start to finish.

Where are you headed after you graduate?

This fall, I am going to start a PhD in Environmental Engineering at Yale University.