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Grad Student Spotlight: Mila (Liudmyla) Yutskevych

Mila (Liudmyla) Yutskevych is a first-year master’s student with a concentration in environmental engineering and air quality. She was born and grew up in the small town Smila in the Cherkasy region of Ukraine, and moved to Kyiv, Ukraine, in 2007, where she lived until 2022. She is a Fulbright Scholar and is advised by Professor Andrew Grieshop. Yutskevych is also a member of NC State’s International Student Advisory Council (ISAC).

What influenced you to go into engineering?

YUTSKEVYCH (Y): Mainly my mother. She was an engineer herself — albeit, electric — and she always told me that I’d be good at it; she wasn’t wrong!

What problem(s) are you trying to solve? Why was NC State / CCEE a good fit for you?

Y: Air quality is my main passion, as I worked for almost 10 years in Kyiv, Ukraine, as a civil engineer. The last five years were devoted to developing HVAC equipment and indoor air climate control systems; I learned a lot about European Union norms and standards for indoor air quality and eco-friendly engineering systems. I’ve switched my focus to outdoor  air quality, as it is the precursor to indoor air pollution. I was particularly interested in the greenhouse effect and carbon prevention technologies, but after the Russian invasion of  my home country, my focus switched to the war-related air pollution. My master’s thesis will be on the topics of air pollution due to war actions and long-term health-related outcomes for the population of the polluted areas. I am also working with Department Head and Professor Jacqueline MacDonald Gibson on a project examining the connection between indoor air quality and sick building syndrome. Thanks to Drs. Gibson and Grieshop, I discovered the health-related effects of environmental pollution and climate change. This is a fascinating topic, and the best part of it is that it’s really practical. I am a person of action, and I love solving practical problems, not theoretical ones.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

Y: For me, it’s really hard to tell right now, because my country is at war and it’s hard to predict anything. I hope to be back home in peaceful Ukraine, and I will definitely work on the restoration of my country. In what position? I don’t know. It might be engineering, it might be environmental policies and legislations, it might be an environmental expert working with climate damage caused by Russia — both in fields, trying to restore it, as well as on the international level, trying to prosecute war criminals for climate damage. I hope to give back to my people as much as they have given me by being the bravest people in the world!