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Photo of Adam Ulissey at the Botanical Research Institute of Texas.

Adam Ulissey

Former DCCCD STEM Institute Scholar
Environmental Engineering Major at Colorado State University

Adam Ulissey is creating a sustainable design for his future, one where he can make a difference in the world as an environmental engineer. The former STEM Institute scholar is now majoring in his intended career at Colorado State University.

“I’ve always been interested in science and nature, and as I’ve gotten older I’ve become more interested in environmental issues,” says Adam, a 2013 DCCCD STEM Institute scholar who received his associate degree from El Centro College in May 2013.

“I want to work in sustainable design – my dream career would be biomimicry design of buildings,” he says. (Based on the Greek words for “imitating life,” biomimicry is the science of biologically-inspired engineering, using examples from nature to solve human design issues.)

Photo of Adam Ulissey at BRIT.

As a DCCCD STEM scholar, Adam benefited from personal advisement by Dr. Kendra Wallis, a STEM Faculty Fellow and physics professor at Eastfield College. “Having a personal mentor was like having a friend who’s always willing to do something for you,” he says. “It was good to be able to ask direct questions to someone who knows what’s going on in the field, and to have help with the transfer process to a four-year university.”

Support opportunities included help landing a paid internship at Ft. Worth’s Botanical Research Institute of Texas (BRIT), where he worked with its living rooftop, constructed to mimic a naturally thriving ecosystem.Photo of Adam Ulissey at BRIT rooftop.

Adam conducted his research under the supervision of Brooke Byerley, Ph.D. (pictured with Adam in the photos on the left), who serves as editor, botanist and living roof coordinator for BRIT.  

“My project was surveying insects on the rooftop habitat, and helping analyze data to compare it to their original ecosystem,” he says, already exhibiting the excitement of a research scientist towards his work. “Having an internship was great. I want to get real experience in my field every step of the way.”

The next step in his educational path: earning a bachelor’s degree for a future career that he hopes will include biomimicry design, creating energy-efficient homes and appliances, and championing recycling. He's excited about and doing well in his classes at CSU, which offers a nationally renowned environmental sciences program. "I really appreciate everything the STEM Institute did for me - it helped me to start out doing well in my classes at CSU," he says.

For Adam, the extracurricular activities of the STEM Institute weighed in as heavily as the encouragement and guidance. “I’ve learned how to handle myself in a professional environment, and how to network,” he says. “My experience with the STEM Institute has really motivated me as I move on to the next level.”

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Phot of Adam Ulissey at BRIT.




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