Cathy Cheng (ENG ’22)

Campus Climate Lab Researcher | Specialties: Building Heating Electrification, Carbon Capture | Major: Mechanical Engineering

Engineering and Biology Student Passionate about Environmentalism


I was born in Boston, MA and grew up in New England. On campus, I work as a Resident Assistant and currently serve as the International Programs chair of the BU chapter of Engineers Without Borders as well as the Vice President of the BU chapter of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.

I recently declared my minor in Biology, with an emphasis on sustainability and the environment, and have loved the opportunity to learn more about the subjects. I’m a member of Epsilon Eta, the professional environmental fraternity on campus, and have loved the experience of meeting like-minded people who are passionate about sustainability and the environment.

Outside of my classes, I love to go on hikes, read, run, learn instruments, cook, and hang out with my dog!

BU Highlights

Since the Spring 2021 semester, owing to funding from the Campus Climate Lab, I have had the opportunity to work with Gayatri Sundar Rajan (ENG’22), Sabrina Dilig (ENG’23), and Professor Michael Gevelber (Mechanical Engineering, ENG) on a project to decarbonize the BU Charles River Campus through designing strategies for heating electrification.

In my freshman year at BU, I joined the Born Global Competition for Innovation in Sustainability (hosted by the College of Engineering and Institute of Sustainable Energy, and funded by the Born Global Foundation) with my teammate, Lekhya Sathi (SAR’23).

We designed a project based on biomimicry methodology to capture carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while simultaneously applying concepts in vertical farming, biomass generation, and wastewater recycling. Our design ultimately went on to win first prize in the competition, and I am serving as the student coordinator for the competition today!

Following the Born Global Competition, I began interning with the Born Global Foundation, which is founded by Dr. Kimberly Samaha, an alumnus of the BU College of Engineering. Through this internship experience, I’ve had the chance to explore biomimicry ⁠— a design methodology inspired by nature ⁠— at the convergence of sustainability and engineering.


I was extremely excited to hear about BU’s plans to divest from fossil fuels earlier this fall. And looking ahead, I’m intrigued to follow the university’s progress in working toward the Zero Waste Plan.

Encouragement for BU Students

I would tell anyone who is interested in getting involved in sustainability and climate change efforts on campus that there are always opportunities to get started!

As an engineering student, I was at first worried about finding something that could combine my interests in engineering with my interests in the environment. Now in my third year at BU, I realize that there are always ways to get involved and that you’ll find like-minded people once you do!