Written By: Linden Miller
For Angela Deibel, role models are extremely important.
“When you have a really good leader,” Angela said, “it’s not hard to feel motivated.”
The senior whose role models include Kent State University associate professor Dr. Yanhai Du, her grandma Janet, and her parents has always been an environmentally centered person. But choosing to major in both marketing and engineering wasn’t always Angela’s plan.
Prior to coming to Kent State, Angela originally attended another college, which she felt she had blindly chosen and recalled a phone call with her mom in which she detailed her disappointment about her prior campus’s lack of trees.
“I was kind of hysterical because I’d been having such a bad year. I missed the trees and I was like ‘There are no trees!’” Angela said. “My mom was like ‘Why don’t you get looking at other schools? Kent State is known as Tree City.’ I took a tour and the campus was so lovely.” The rest is history.
Angela started at Kent State as a business major, but soon realized that she had a knack for sustainability.
“My very first semester here, I took an Intro to Sustainability class with Dr. Du,” she said. “It really opened my eyes to how the definition of sustainability is to use the resources of today without harming future generations.”
Angela felt she fit in at the engineering college and that marketing would be her secret weapon, of sorts.
“To the marketers, I’m an engineer,” Angela said. “But to the engineers, I’m a marketer. I found that if engineering won’t open one door, marketing often opens another door.”
After having Dr. Du as a professor for her Intro to Sustainability class, Angela became his teaching assistant during her second semester. In the summertime, Dr. Du offered Angela a paid internship in the Clean Energy and Sustainability Lab that he directs.
Angela also guides the Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) project. The vehicle converts fuel - such as natural gas or hydrogen - into electricity with zero greenhouse gas emissions.
Angela hopes other students recognize that personality goes a long way, as classes and work experience can only take a job candidate so far.
“You’re not going to get a job based solely off your resume,” Angela said. “What you showcase when you go into an interview definitely makes an impact.”
After graduation, Angela is looking to complete grad school, studying material science, to continue researching fuel cells.
According to Angela, everyone can relay their own life experiences to “fast” or “slow” changes. “Fast” changes occur when someone experiences a large change in a short amount of time. “Slow” changes occur when someone has an “awakening” over a long period of time. Most recently she’s experienced the most influential “fast change” of her life.
Outside of Kent State, one of Angela’s most influential role models is her grandma Janet, who expressed an abundance of pride for Angela and her engineering studies.
“My grandma passed away from cancer recently,” Angela said. “It was a very quick and sudden process from seeing her completely healthy to seeing her health deteriorating. I was able to speak at her funeral, and I feel incredibly proud of myself for being able to do it. That’s probably one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do.”
Angela uses this experience to state her favorite quote: “If your heart hurts, call it growing pains.”
“Everyone’s heart hurts at some point in their life,” Angela said. “If you just think of them as growing pains, it’ll help you get through that.”