Daria Boglaienko

Degree: Ph.D. in Civil Engineering

College/School: College of Engineering and Computing

Daria Boglaienko stepped off a plane in Miami with just a suitcase and map. Everything she’d ever known – her home and family in Ukraine – seemed a world away. She spoke little English. She didn’t know anyone here. Daria was frightened, but she gathered her courage and hopped on a shuttle that took her straight to FIU.

Nothing has ever stood in Daria’s way of getting an education. She’s loved school since she was a child. The only one in her family to pursue higher education, she earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees, and then spent several years teaching in Ukraine. She dreamed of making an impact through research, but opportunities were limited to her at home. It wasn’t until she applied for the American Councils for International Education’s Opportunity Funds Program that she received the support to apply to FIU.

At FIU, Daria discovered that natural materials, like sand, can be used to treat oil spills in the ocean. When poured on top of a spill, the material captures the oil, preventing it from spreading and harming beaches, as well as aquatic plant and animal life. Her research findings were used by the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative to increase awareness for new environmentally friendly oil spill treatment methods.

Daria, who graduates with a 4.0 GPA, also has published nine journal articles. In her spare time, she enjoys taking free online courses. She hopes to stay in environmental research field as a postdoctoral fellow.

By Angela Nicoletti