Udall Scholar Griffin Laihinen featured by Purdue Engineering

Griffin Laihinen (BSEEE Class of 2024) chose Purdue for a number of reasons, including its standalone environmental and ecological engineering program Not many schools have academic programs as unique and curiosity-sparking as EEE is to prospective and current students, said Griffin, in the first installment of the Faces of Purdue Engineering series this fall.

Griffin Laihinen’s one requirement for college was to attend a Big-Ten school.

"Purdue certainly fit that mold of exciting athletics, top-tier academics and a clear name recognition,” said the Purdue senior from Rosemount, Minnesota.

Ultimately, it was Purdue’s College of Engineering that won him over — when he learned it had a standalone environmental and ecological engineering program and realized First-Year Engineering gave him time to confirm the decision about his path. He didn’t have any engineers in his family and hadn’t taken any engineering courses in high school to direct him otherwise.

“Not many schools have academic programs as unique and curiosity-sparking as EEE is to prospective and current students,” said Griffin Laihinen, in the first installment of the “Faces of Purdue Engineering” series for Fall 2023. 

Photo by Yash Trivedi, courtesy of Purdue Engineering. 

In the years since, Laihinen has blossomed, not only academically in Purdue EEE but also by being involved in Purdue Engineering’s vast number of opportunities. He’s Purdue Student Engineering Foundation (PSEF) president, an ambassador for EEE and the College of Engineering, and a member of both the Purdue Climate Action Collective and Society of Environmental and Ecological Engineers.

Griffin is passionate about preventing undue emissions that impact air and water quality. He has completed three internships concerning sustainable manufacturing in Wisconsin, Texas, and California. Throughout his studies in EEE, Griffin has worked on various community projects to foster public interest in urban farming and industrial safety. 

Griffin was recently awarded a highly prestigious Udall Undergraduate Scholarship from the Udall Foundation, which awards scholarships to college sophomores and juniors for exceptional leadership, public service, and commitment to issues related to Native American nations or the environment. 

All of this experience has helped him feel prepared to enter the workforce — with a mission in mind.

“In my career, I aim to address the human consumption of environmental resources and facilitate ethical environmental decisions at economies of scale. In my life, I seek out opportunities that connect us with the environment that we all live in.” Griffin said.

“An engineering degree will aide me in pursuing these career and life goals because the engineering way of thinking involves taking action given thorough research and data to back up decisions," he added. "When addressing such large-scale goals as human impact on the environment, equipping myself with the skills to create, find and connect data to draw conclusions is crucial. I believe that Purdue Engineering is a program where those skills can be taught and honed with real-world implications.”

In his (limited) free time, Griffin enjoys watching soccer, listening to political podcasts, and hiking in local parks.