Hello! My name is Elena Stachew.
I am originally from Portage, MI, close to Kalamazoo. I have a B.S. in Polymer Science & Engineering with a concentration in Materials Science & Engineering from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, OH. I worked for Fairmount Santrol (formerly, Fairmount Minerals) in both Benton Harbor, MI and Chardon, OH as a technical service engineer, research engineer, and corporate sustainable development team lead for the last three years. My first foray into biomimicry started in high school by reading Janine Benyus’ Biomimicry: Innovation Inspired by Nature and subsequent interests in renewable energy technologies and product innovation. Having both grown up and worked in the Great Lakes region my entire life, I’m passionate about the continued economic development of this region through its greatest asset, water, but equally understand the importance of protecting that resource. While representing my former employer as a Cleveland Water Alliance Program Committee Member, I learned of the opportunity to pursue a Biomimicry PhD fellowship to innovate in the areas of ecological restoration, urban sustainability and design, and stormwater management for the Northeast Ohio region. I jumped at that opportunity!
My sponsors are Biohabitats, Cleveland Water Alliance and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. I plan to use biomimicry principles to develop new tools, techniques and approaches for ecological restoration in a freshwater coastal and nearshore context as well as use biomimicry thinking to develop innovative approaches for standard urban management systems, such as water management, city master planning and stormwater regulation.
I’m also excited to apply my learning internationally through Engineers Without Borders and Engineering for Change networks. I currently serve as International Project Management Lead for the Northeast Ohio Professional Chapter for our current water distribution and treatment project in rural Honduras.
If interested in learning more about my fellowship or the program in general, feel free to send me a message and connect on LinkedIn!