Feature Stories

A Top Student Graduates Into a Great Job

Rachel Wallner is graduating from NJIT with a host of honors and a great job.

Rachel Wallner will graduate in May but she already has a great job.

In August, she’ll begin work as an environmental engineer for Noblis, a nonprofit firm that does environmental work. She interned last summer at Noblis, helping to clean up contaminated Air Force bases. She did so well on the internship that the company offered her a full-time job.

Rachel, a senior majoring in chemical engineering, is a top student. During her four years at NJIT, she’s won a host of awards and scholarships. Newark College of Engineering named her the Outstanding Senior in her major, and the Department of Chemical, Biological, and Pharmaceutical Engineering gave her two high honors: the Omega Chi Epsilon Award for Excellence in Chemical Engineering and the Mark Zangrilli Memorial Award. She's also a scholar in the Honors College.

She is excited about working as an environmental engineer, which she says is her dream job.  In this interview, Rachel discusses her successes at  NJIT and the great job and bright future that awaits her. 


Talk about your job.
Noblis is based in Falls Church, Virginia. I’ll work in the firm’s environmental department on clean-up projects for the federal government.  The projects are in the areas of global warming and environmental remediation. I’m really excited to work for a good company in a field I enjoy.

Can you describe your internship?
Last summer during my internship at Noblis I worked on a project to make the environmental cleanup on Air Force Bases cheaper and more efficient.  I mainly updated the website and wrote reports about the cleanup.  In addition, I got to visit Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. During this visit, I worked with scientists and engineers who were helping with the cleanup.

How did you get interested in environmental engineering?
I realized that I had an interest in the environment when I took Society, Technology, and the Environment here at NJIT.  The class showed me that environmental engineering combines many sciences.  I like all the sciences and enjoy learning how science and technology and people interact. So environmental engineering is perfect for me.  My internship at Noblis also enhanced my interest in the environment.  

Why did you major in chemical engineering?
I majored in chemical engineering because I like chemistry and math.  Chemical engineering was the perfect major to fuse the two. Now I’ll apply my knowledge of chemistry and math to the environment.  Studying chemical engineering has helped me understand companies that work with chemicals. And understanding their point of view is crucial to finding a solution for their environmental pollutants. 

How has NJIT helped you over your four years?
One way NJIT has helped me is financially. Without the Honors College scholarship and the other scholarships I received, I would’ve graduated with large loans and would not have had a chance to travel.  I was also able to avoid work and focus on academics.  The aid also gave me the opportunity to participate in more school organizations and activities.  And the biggest way NJIT helped me is by giving me a great education.  There are many great professors at NJIT and they have been invaluable to me.  The education I have received gave me confidence and helped me find a great job. 

(By Robert Florida, office of Strategic Communications)