Whitney Weidenbenner — aspiring water super hero

Lyles School of Civil Engineering undergrad Whitney Weidenbenner wants to be a "water super hero" and came to Purdue for her hero training.

Hometown: St. Louis, Missouri

Current year: Junior

Whitney Weidenbenner
Whitney Weidenbenner

Why I chose Civil Engineering

I remember speaking with my priest, Father Mathias, when I was eight years old and he told me about the water problems his home country of Uganda consistently faced. From that moment, I realized I wanted to be a “water super hero” when I grew up and help bring clean water to countries around the world. I also had a love for math and science, so all throughout middle and high school, I only became more confident in my decision to study engineering.

Once I came to Purdue, I quickly realized civil engineering was the path for me. Not only was it perfect to set me on a course to tackle global water issues, I found its strong history very inspiring. Civil engineering’s history is shared with humanity’s history. Without the practice of civil engineering, we as a people would never have formed civilizations and societies.

Emphasis area

My emphasis is in hydraulic and hydrologic engineering. I am learning from some of the world’s greatest experts in water engineering who challenge and encourage me, every day. I feel very confident that once I graduate, I will be able to use what I learned and make a tremendous impact here in the United States and abroad.

Over the summer, Whitney led the Purdue Wine to Water chapter to the Dominican Republic where they made silver water filters.
Over the summer, Whitney led the Purdue Wine to Water chapter to the Dominican Republic where they made silver water filters.

Establishing Wine to Water

I started Wine to Water at Purdue. It is an incredible non-profit based out of North Carolina. We work to fundraise throughout the year and, in the summer, we choose a place to help with a water-based service project.

I felt like this was something perfect for Purdue University to be a part of as it combines using the great education we have received to help solve world problems along with the great sense of service many students here on campus share. We are now in our second year as an organization and our numbers continue to grow!

Last summer, we traveled to the Dominican Republic where we made silver filters and while we did that, we also got to meet and speak with the people we made the filters for and learn about their lives and really feel like a part of the community.

This was my group’s first trip as an official Purdue chapter and I could not be happier with the results. Everyone’s efforts were inspiring and I am looking forward to our next project with an even larger group.

After I graduate

Currently, I am planning to pursue a Master’s degree in Civil Engineering. I believe that if I want to make a difference and lead teams to bring clean water to communities around the world, then I will need a comprehensive mastery over my discipline.

Whitney also plays first base for the Purdue University club softball team.
Whitney also plays first base for the Purdue University club softball team.