Scholar Spotlight: Kayli Rentzel
Kayli Rentzel works as a Mechanical Project Engineer at Armstrong World Industries. She coaches high school cheerleading and enjoys relaxing at the beach, traveling and gymnastics.
We recently asked Kayli about her experience with Lancaster Watershed Leadership Academy.
Q: What inspired you to get involved in the Watershed Leadership Academy?
A: I was working to learn more about stormwater permitting and local resources for my job. Through looking online and making some cold calls, I got connected with Allyson. She was super helpful with what I was looking into and mentioned the academy. It just seemed like a perfect fit to get some more technical training around sustainability!
Q: What is your main motivating factor to strive for clean water?
A: My overall goal with sustainability is to improve where I can and make an impact throughout my career and personal life. Clean water is a huge part of this that I think is often overlooked. Most people in this area have regular access to clean water so I think it is easy to forget how our actions impact this.
Q: What were your first thoughts about the Academy?
A: My first thoughts were “wow, what a great group of people!” In the first session we had, there was such great discussion among us. We are all so different but get along so well. Each time we are together, I learn something new and am just amazed with the whole group.
Q: What do you hope to accomplish through your participation in the Watershed Leadership Academy?
A: For me, this is a foundational part of my sustainability journey. Throughout this academy, I am learning how what we do affects water quality while also growing my professional network. I hope I can take all that I learn and apply it to what I do at work.
Q: What has changed in the way you look at the environment since you began the Academy?
A: I think I notice a lot more now about what affects our water. Before, I knew buffers were good for the environment and of course that we should conserve water, but now I can look at things more critically. I understand more in depth what is good or bad for water quality. There are so many things that I didn’t know before because they are not obvious, and now I notice more and more as I continue to learn.
For her Academy Action Project, Kayli is working with fellow scholar Cathleen Anthony to look into the feasibility of some sustainable options for the Armstrong World Industries campus in Marietta.
“Corporate water stewardship is a new and rapidly evolving area of concern,” she said of her project. “Environmental regulations and the fear of fines make it challenging for corporations to join in on this journey. I hope to shed a positive light on the possibilities of collaborating with organizations like LCWP and to make it easier for companies to make positive change.”
When asked what she is learning about herself through the Academy, Kayli said, “I am learning more and more that sustainability is something I want to be at the forefront of my career and a bigger part of my personal life. This is an area where I really see the ability to make an impact which gives me the energy to keep moving forward, even when we come face to face with a variety of roadblocks.”