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Randi Mendes, Community Liaison & Graduate Student Support

Community Liaison & Graduate Student Support
PostDoctoral Associate for Environmental Engineering

Office: Engineering II, room 306
Email: randi.mendes@uconn.edu

Randi Mendes (she/her/hers) has her B.S. in Ecological Engineering from Oregon State University and an M.S. and Ph.D. in Environmental Engineering from the University of Connecticut (UConn). She is the first in her family to receive a Ph.D.

From a young age, Randi has been highly involved in outreach and leadership. Starting from volunteer hours in veterinary hospitals and soup kitchens, participating and coordinating trash cleanups, to graduating high school as the student body president. In undergrad, Randi was a part of the Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP) program, a program designed to support and further the education of underrepresented minorities (URM) in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) majors. She entered OSU as a participant in the bridge program and eventually became a peer mentor for the following 3 years until her graduation. She was also an engineering ambassador. Randi maintained her education, 2 jobs, and part-time involvement in undergraduate research in the field of environmental and ecological engineering, funded by NSF.

During her time at UConn, Randi was awarded the Bridge to Doctorate NSF Fellowship as well as the GAAN Fellowship which allowed her the ability to continue her studies as well as be active in outreach and leadership. She was President of the Student Association of Graduate Engineers (SAGE) where she planned and coordinated professional development events for graduate engineering students. She also founded the John Lof Leadership Academy. As a two-term president of JLLA, she created an exclusive academy for graduate engineering students to learn how to be leaders. The program focused on the development of the individual leader and ran by a “for us, by us” mentality. The organization also proudly uses its voice and efforts to support activism and outreach and is active and continues to grow to this day. Randi has helped in, spoke at, and taught in many of the Vergnano Institute for Inclusion (VII) programs as a graduate student including Explore Engineering program, Multiply Your Options (MYO), Sisters in Stem(SIS), DaVinci Program, the BRIDGE program and helped establish the BRIDGE+ program for incoming underrepresented graduate students. Additionally, she helped found the Inclusive Excellence Program (a program for faculty and staff to learn how to incorporate anti-racist teaching practices into their mentoring and teaching) and the Environmental Representation initiative which aims to make UConn School of Engineering more welcoming through bringing artwork to its halls.

Currently, Randi is a postdoctoral fellow for the Department of Environmental Engineering where she works with the Technical Assistance for Brownfields team serving New England as the community liaison. She also holds a position in the VII office wherein she advises graduate student organizations, oversees MYO, BRIDGE+, and other programs.