Campus Women in Technology group sends holiday gifts to area hit by Hurricane Irene

Student Spotlight
Danyelle Greene, third-year civil engineering technology

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A. Sue Weisler

Kelley Lockwood, Kristen Wildenstein, Megan Ryan and Danyelle Greene model fleece hats they made with their friends from RIT’s Women in Technology group. As part of its community service meeting recently, group members collected children’s books and made fleece hats for families in Schoharie County (Schenectady region) who were overwhelmed by Hurricane Irene this past summer. It was a bittersweet event for Greene, who has family and friends in the region, many who continue to rebuild after extensive flooding.

When Hurricane Irene swept up the East Coast in August, it left a path of destruction in its wake, including damage to the Schoharie County area in southeastern New York state. It was a difficult time for Danyelle Greene, who worried about friends and family from her hometown struggling for safety, with many still rebuilding from devastating floods. Just like those in her hometown rallied to help each other dig out from the storm, Greene and her friends in Women in Technology were helping out too—just in time for the holidays. The group is donating more than 100 books and 30-plus fleece hats to a community center where families can walk through to pick up gifts for the holidays.

Question: Where are you from?
Answer: I am from Roxbury, N.Y., in Delaware County, but I have lots of friends in Schoharie County. The community is really small. I graduated from Roxbury Central High School, with a class of 18 kids.

Q: What brought you to RIT?
A: I applied to 15 colleges and got into 14 of them. It was a tough decision. When I first came here to visit, I hated the ride! But I spent the time with Melissa Harrison, a mechanical engineering student, and she completely turned my head around about RIT.

Q: Why did you choose civil engineering technology?
A: I love working on cars. I thought that’s what I wanted to do, and I was interested in mechanical engineering. But it turns out, I don’t like physics, and there’s a lot more to mechanical engineering than the car aspect of it. I worked as a landscaper for three years in high school and I loved it. I switched to civil engineering about a year ago last quarter. I made the dean’s list this fall with a 3.72 GPA. I start my second co-op next quarter at Lamont Engineers in Cobleskill, N.Y.

Q: Tell us about the flood and its impact on your hometown, your friends and family.
A: I got a call during fall orientation from my mom. She was watching the news and telling me that the bridge by our house was washed away. My father works for the highway department, so he was out in the storm trying to get people out of houses. Other families who lived in the Gilboa Dam flood plain were evacuated. I have seen video of the damage, and I get tears in my eyes watching it.

Q: What types of things do you do around campus?
A: Being in Women in Technology is a big part of what I do here. Recently, I participated in the Associated Schools of Construction regional competition, and I was on the design-build team. I take line-dancing classes, work at the Center for Campus Life and was an orientation assistant this fall.

Q: What does a group like Women in Technology mean to you?
A: Women in technology or engineering is huge. When I applied for a co-op at the fall Career Fair, this woman looked at me like, wait, you’re interested in construction? And she commented on my blond hair and that I was a girl. Getting the word out there that women can do what men can do is the way it should be.

Q: What is something that most people wouldn’t know about you when they first meet you?
A: I like the color pink and most country girls don’t like the color pink!

Q: What is one of the coolest things you do?
A: I race snowmobiles. My dad had me on our sled racing when I was 12 or 13. I’ve been racing on a team now for two years. I bought my own sled last year and I’m doing my own thing now.

Q: Any advice you would give to other RIT students?
A: My first year here, I was petrified to use any free help. I wouldn’t go to my advisor unless I absolutely had to. I liked being Miss Independent, that’s who I am. Get to know your advisors and your teachers as well.

Scott Bureau covers student affairs for University News. Contact him at with “Student Spotlight” suggestions.