Majors: Systems and control engineering, environmental studies Year: Rising fourth year
All paths led to Case Western Reserve University for Cora Lutes, a rising fourth-year student studying systems and control engineering with a secondary major in environmental studies.
As a traveler who’d often take summer road trips to Montana with her family, Lutes fell in love with nature and knew then that she wanted to combine her passion for the environment with her strength in math to help solve the ongoing climate crisis. When she learned of the programs in Case Western Reserve’s College of Arts and Sciences and Case School of Engineering, she knew the university was the perfect place for her to build the skills she’d need.
“I have felt very privileged to be able to explore beautiful places on our planet,” Lutes said. “I want to use the skills and knowledge I am learning throughout my education to solve the urgent issues affecting the environment I loved growing up.”
While on campus, Lutes has spent time at the Solar Durability and Lifetime Extension (SDLE) Research Center, where she’s studied the degradation of photovoltaic solar modules through fabrication and electrical characterization techniques. The process could help generate power through environmentally friendly renewable energy sources.
Through this research, she landed an internship at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, where she connected with professionals within the renewable energy industry. She also had opportunities to serve as a sustainability ambassador, peer advisor and ThinkEnergy fellow from 2021-2022.
Lutes also keeps herself busy by participating as a member of the Women in Science and Engineering Roundtable, an organization that aims to provide opportunities for professional skill development and foster a sense of community for students in STEM.
“Every [CWRU] experience I’ve had, whether applicable to my major or not,” Lutes noted, “has added value to my life and career as a student.”
Lutes continues to enjoy the wonders of nature, whether she’s running leisurely, hiking or camping. When she’s not exploring nature, she enjoys reading a good novel or playing the keyboard piano.
After graduating from Case Western Reserve, Lutes hopes to work in the renewable energy industry before possibly returning to graduate school.