Merging International Relations and Engineering has Broadened Her Horizons By Glenn Cook
n high school, Colleen Naughton hoped to find a career path that would merge her interests in international relations and engineering. Thanks to a USF program that allowed her to get advanced degrees while performing public service abroad, she’s done just that. “In high school, I thought I had to make a choice of one or the other, but I leaned toward engineering because I’ve always wanted to solve problems instead of talking about them,” says Naughton. “Thanks to USF and the Peace Corps International Program, I’ve been able to find a way to combine engineering with public service.”
Colleen Naughton graduated in May with
Naughton worked in Ghana and Costa Rica while attending Purdue University as an undergraduate, then was accepted into the Peace Corps Master’s International Program directed by USF professor James R. Mihelcic. The program allows qualified students to work on a master’s degree while serving two years in the Peace Corps. “It was great to get more preparation for my PhD because I was able to do my master’s and research at the same time,” says Naughton, who focused on clean water sanitation stations in Mali, West Africa. “It was an amazing experience, learning a new language and working in the developing world.”
her doctorate in Civil Engineering. She wears a traditional Malian dress given to her in Mali, West Africa.