Graduating senior Krissy J. Govertsen of Valatie, N.Y., received the Frederica Clarkson Award during Clarkson University’s spring 2018 commencement ceremony on May 12. She was selected for the $1,000 award by a vote of the full University faculty based on her scholarship and promise of outstanding achievement.
The award was established in 1921 as a bequest in the will of Frederica Clarkson, sister of Thomas S. Clarkson, for whom the University is named. This award and the Levinus Clarkson Award are traditionally given to the two top students in the graduating class.
Govertsen, a member of the Honors Program, received a bachelor of science degree in civil engineering concentrating in structural engineering, architectural engineering, and construction engineering management. She was a presidential scholar for all eight semesters at Clarkson and graduated with a 3.957 GPA.
Govertsen began her association with Clarkson through the Clarkson School (TCS), Clarkson University’s early college program, which allowed Govertsen to start college after her junior year of high school. She also served the Clarkson University Student Association (CUSA) as a senator for TCS, and on the TCS council and yearbook.
During her first year, Govertsen joined the Clarkson Honors Program as a fast-track student. Due to her commitment to her community and professional development, Govertsen was awarded the Kristine M. Layn Scholarship as well as a Personal and Professional Development Award. After maintaining a 4.0 GPA for the duration of her Clarkson School year, she also received the Outstanding Academic Achievement Award, which is the highest academic award in The Clarkson School.
After her first year at Clarkson, Govertsen interned with General Electric Power and Water in Schenectady, N.Y. There, she worked on environmental health and safety projects to increase office energy efficiency, improve lock out/tag out procedures, and install warning signage.
Upon returning to Clarkson for her sophomore year, Govertsen served as the Class of 2018 president as well as a peer educator and mentor to Clarkson School students. She was awarded the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Lawrence W. and Francis W. Cox Scholarship in the spring of her sophomore year for her commitment to the profession and the on-campus ASCE student organization. Govertsen also received the Class of 1947 Endowed Scholarship.
In the summer of 2016, Govertsen interned with the Chazen Companies in Troy, N.Y., a civil and environmental consulting firm. She worked on land development projects and co-wrote stormwater pollution prevention plans and erosion and settlement control plans.
In her junior year, Govertsen served as a house advisor, equivalent to a resident advisor, to both TCS and honors first-year students in Price Hall. She also joined the Steel Bridge SPEED team, one of Clarkson’s Student Projects for Engineering Experience and Design (SPEED) teams. The team placed first at the regional American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Conference at Syracuse University and Govertsen earned first place for her paper and presentation on the ASCE Mead Paper topic of whether or not it was ethical for engineering faculty to teach design courses without having the appropriate professional licensure. Govertsen also served as the human resources chair for the ASCE and as public relations chair for Colleges Against Cancer, which organizes Relay for Life on campus.
Govertsen spent her Thursday nights volunteering with the local Girl Scout Daisy Troop 50126. She also received funding through the Sustainability Fund competition hosted by Clarkson's Institute for a Sustainable Environment (ISE) to cover expenses for faculty and staff to complete the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Classroom Professional Certification in an effort to make Clarkson University a more sustainable campus. Again, her commitment to her academics and community earned her the Keith M. Russel Civil and Environmental Engineering Award as well as a Phalanx Commendable Leadership Award.
Also during her junior year, Govertsen began performing market research for her honors thesis, but also her future business: SMART Start House, LLC. SMART stands for Sustainable, Manageable, Affordable, Resilient and Technological. The business would provide consulting services to the average American family to help them set and reach their sustainability goals. Govertsen pitched her business at the North Country Business Plan Competition at Clarkson and earned second place in the clean technology track. She went on to earn the Esprit de Corps award in the clean technology track at the New York State Business Plan Competition.
During her senior year, Govertsen continued as a house advisor for TCS and Honors. She was also the senior advisor for the Steel Bridge team and editor for Chi Epsilon, the civil engineering honors society.
She taught two workshops on the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Associate Exam through ASCE and received a regional scholarship to attend Greenbuild in Boston through the United States Green Building Council (USGBC).
Govertsen was also a member of the Tau Beta Pi Engineering Honor Society, and the Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society. She again pitched her business in the North Country Business Plan Competition, this time earning second place in the services track. She earned a Tau Beta Pi Scholarship and a National Chi Epsilon Scholarship during her senior year. Again, her commitment to her academics and community earned her the Charles Martin Clark Memorial Prize as well as a Phalanx Commendable Leadership Award for the second time.
Along with these activities, she worked in the TCS admission office throughout her undergraduate career, training tour guides, conducting tours, managing prospective student outreach and creating social media content for TCS. Govertsen also served as a grader and a teaching assistant for several courses including Water Resource Engineering I, Soil Mechanics, and Introduction to Environmental Engineering. She also served on the civil engineering Student Advisory Council.
Following commencement, Govertsen has accepted a fellowship for a master of science degree in sustainable building systems and an interdisciplinary Ph.D. at Northeastern University in Boston.