Spotlight: Industrial Engineer Nehika Mathur’s Journey Into the Circular Economy

Credit: NIST

Sustainability is easier said than done. NIST industrial engineer Nehika Mathur learned this lesson with an eye-opening experience that spurred an early-career transition.   

Working with the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) to support small-sized manufacturers, Nehika learned that many businesses faced challenges putting sustainability into practice.   

Nehika had previously spent years designing automotive and electrical equipment, which refined her keen eye for product design. But she realized at UNIDO that she had blind spots for the full product life cycle and the way sustainable practices affect each step of it.  

Seeking to put the entire lifespan of products in sight, Nehika headed back to school.   

She studied environmental and ecological engineering at Purdue University, familiarizing herself with sustainable practices such as methods to track the flow of resources through industrial systems. There, Nehika built up expertise in calculating the economic and environmental value that comes from recovering resources from manufactured products, namely solar panels.   

At NIST, Nehika’s talents and perspective have become a crucial element of our Circular Economy Program — a broad effort to understand how the value of spent manufactured products can be recouped.   

Learn more about Nehika in her own words with this Taking Measure blog post.

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