Outstanding Grad: Sara Hanneman, environmental health

Sara Hanneman doing yoga outside

When it comes to research experiences, extra-curricular activities, and even academic courses, Colorado State University has a lot to offer. Throughout her four years as an environmental health student, Sara Hanneman hasn’t limited herself to just a few of these opportunities – she’s made an effort to do #allthethings.

This summer, she’ll work in Susan Bailey’s lab on a subset of the Honduras Cookstove Project led by Maggie Clark about how household air pollution affects the risk of chronic disease development. Her job is to take stem cell samples collected in the field and measure their telomeres to determine if exposure to household air pollution results in shorter telomere length, and therefore an increase in risk of chronic disease.

When she’s not in class or the lab, Hanneman spends much of her time leading climbing, hiking, backpacking, snowshoeing, and skiing trips for the Campus Recreation Outdoor Program. The program allows any CSU-associated person to participate in the outdoor trips offered, providing lower equipment, transportation, and instruction costs.

“I’ve been able to interact with a variety of people that I wouldn’t have been able to otherwise,” Hanneman said. “They’re excited to get into the backcountry, and it’s cool to see everyone bond through that experience.”

As she looks forward to completing her honor’s thesis and senior capstone informed by her work on the Honduras Cookstove Project, leads backcountry trips, and takes on an 18-credit course load for her final semester, Hanneman is confident she’s used her time at CSU well.

“I’m excited because I feel like I have a lot of options, and the opportunities I’ve had at CSU helped set me up for that,” Hanneman said.

She’s good at making every moment and opportunity count, and she intends to go forth with that same attitude after she graduates later this month. Hanneman plans to spend some time travelling, then pursue either a Master of Public Health or attend medical school. With the experience she’s gained at CSU and a passion for being extremely busy, she could probably do just about anything – or everything.

College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences Commencement Information