Britney McCoy ’05, EPA engineer and STEM education advocate
By Bryan Hay
At Lafayette, Britney McCoy ’05 (engineering studies and government & law) had her sights set on landing a career at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
“Although I didn’t major in environmental engineering, I knew that I wanted to work for the EPA,” she says. “What inspires me is EPA’s mission, which is quite simple, to protect human health and the environment. They try to live by that, despite outside influences.”
An EPA engineer and STEM education advocate, she works on the implementation of the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act, which protects human health and improves air quality by reducing harmful emissions from diesel engines.
“We’re literally cleaning up our nation’s legacy fleet, meaning older buses, locomotives, marine engines, and construction and agricultural equipment—pretty much any heavy-duty diesel- powered item you can think of,” McCoy says. “You can see the effects of the changes right away, and I get the opportunity to research various advanced clean technologies to kind of help stimulate the market. It’s a program that has bipartisan support, which is always great.”
Her belief in a STEM education—planted when her parents bought her the game Operation when she was 8—is expressed in STEMLY, a nonprofit organization she co-founded that provides access to high-quality science, technology, engineering, and math education for children in Washington, D.C.
McCoy’s own STEM path at Lafayette was cut by an interest in technical thinking and a desire to broaden her mind with the College’s wealth of liberal arts opportunities.
“I chose Lafayette I because I knew I would get that rigorous, intense education from the STEM aspects of the engineering program,” she says. “Another aspect of me still was interested in liberal arts, and that’s why I also chose government and law. It all laid a strong foundation, because from Lafayette I went straight into a Ph.D. program at Carnegie Mellon University.”
Asked about her future plans, McCoy says she never intends to do anything forever.
“I’m very thankful for my work at EPA, which allows me to help people breathe clean air, and to Lafayette for preparing me for this journey,” she says.