This #HBCUWeek, hear from MLEF students of 2022

Lydia Joy Williams

Bachelor of Environmental Science with a Concentration in Environmental Health

Alabama Agricultural and Mechanical University

What does it mean to you to attend an HBCU?

For me, attending an HBCU means being part of my community. To be able to move and just be black in completely black spaces is an incredible feeling. I am not judged for how I dress or interact.

What advice would you give to students considering attending an HBCU?

To students who identify as African American, I 100% suggest that you attend an HBCU. After all, these institutions were made for you when others were built to keep you out. Who wouldn’t want to be part of the best part of black culture? And for others looking to study at an HBCU, I encourage that as well.

Why did you apply for the MLEF program? What research topics and/or technical areas did you work on during the MLEF program?

I’ve had a love for the land since I was a little girl. I had a particular fascination with water treatment and water harvesting when I was 10, so I had known for quite a while that I wanted to be in STEM.

I applied to the MLEF program to expand my skills as a STEM student and to learn skills that I could only learn in the real world. While at MLEF, I worked on groundwater contamination near coal ash reservoirs, with potential applications for the recovery of critical minerals.

Being part of the MLEF program has opened my eyes to many different people, places and things. I was born and raised in Montgomery, AL, so being able to live in Washington, DC for a summer and experience all the different cultures and people was amazing. I will always be grateful to MLEF for allowing me to experience this.

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