Erinn Ryen is a doctoral candidate at the Golisano Institute for Sustainability at RIT. Now she's being honored with the U.S. EPA Star Fellowship. It will allow her to continue researching electronics and their impact on the environment.
"Hopefully our research will help consumers better understand what they are purchasing and hopefully we take our research and bring it back to the manufacturers when they design their products, thinking of everything people own, not just their product," says Ryen.
She is looking to nature for some answers. It's called industrial ecology. "It's funded for three years so it allows her to do some really interesting novel research that might have otherwise been difficult to do in a normal Phd program," says Callie Babbitt.
Ryen says it's important to look at the big picture, because most people own lots of different electronic devices. "We as consumers we don't just buy a cellphone or a laptop we buy printers and several tv's we want to understand better what is the entire environmental impact of this community of electronics that a household owns."
The work is just beginning this is actually part of a three year fellowship. "She is the first student from the sustainability program and as far as we know the first student from RIT who has ever won this extremely competitive national program," says Babbitt.
They believe that each small step we take now, will lead to a much greener future.