Spotlight: Students

Allison Hogikyan

It would seem that Allison Hogikyan was destined to attend the University of Michigan, having grown up in the Ann Arbor area to a family of Wolverines. She enjoyed a childhood familiar to Mitten state natives. “I spent my summers outside at pools and Michigan lakes, and playing with the clay in our backyard.”

Allison says she’s always been interested in gaining a better understanding of the physical world. She says family members who’d pursued science degrees and careers supported her. “My family has a good mix of humanities and science, and the human desire to understand ‘why’ (which isn't really unique to science, but is an important part of it) was always encouraged in all settings.”

Initially, she was not sure she wanted to become an engineer. “I knew that I did not want to be someone who only took technical classes, with no college exposure to the humanities.” But she found that there are very few universities that excel in engineering, as well as the humanities and other areas. Allison said a speaker at the Erb Institute ultimately inspired her, and she came to the conclusion that economics are a key factor in driving the transition to a more sustainable world.

Pursuing that idea, she was accepted to both the College of Engineering as well as the Ross School of Business, and came to the conclusion that Michigan offered the best of all worlds for her education. She eventually left Ross, deciding instead to focus on Climate studies, which she says was inspired by a realization that she had an affinity for complex systems.

Allison says her love of the outdoors, and all of that time in pools and lakes has left her with a fascination with water. “I began swimming at 4, competing with the 5-year-olds soon after, and I continued to compete through high school. Swimming is still where I do my best thinking. It inspires much of my curiosity about fluids, and my desire to help others have water to drink and swim in.”

This fascination has carried over into her studies, and she says she’s interested in working in municipal water infrastructure. “I am spending some of my time driving to Detroit to chat with folks about the big changes happening there in what is now the Water and Sewerage Department.”

She graduated this past May with a BSE in Climate & Meteorology; Climate Science and Impacts concentration. She is currently doing research for Climate & Space professor Gretchen Keppel-Aleks and applying for jobs.

Allison says her time at CLaSP has been inspiring. “I was awed by the opportunity to learn more about how the whole world works together, as well as the kind, open community in this department. I felt that any curiosity I developed would be greeted with encouragement.”