Kelly Napoli: UF Environmental Engineering (2018)
A marathon-runner, novelist and now - an environmental engineer at Next Era Energy, Inc. - Kelly Napoli (B.S., Environmental Engineering) is helping shape the future of energy.
Fueled by perseverance and determination, traits she embodied as a cross country runner in her high school days, Napoli knew she wanted to attend the University of Florida and more specifically, dive into a discipline that would allow her to positively impact the environment.
“I was always interested in protecting the environment. I knew from my first day at UF that I would choose a path that would allow me to create a more sustainable world,” she said.
Originally an environmental sciences major, she was quickly drawn to the schematics and real-world impact of engineering.
“When I went to the engineering college during my first semester to ask some questions, I was incredibly impressed at the opportunities that this college was providing for its students and the solutions it was developing for its environment,” Napoli said. “That was when I decided to become an engineer.”
Service to the Global Community
Napoli’s interest in a sustainable world led her to join the UF chapter of Engineers Without Borders (EWB), an organization that works to tackle the most basic needs of communities all around the world.
She says it was the most challenging and rewarding part of her UF experience.
“In this organization, I got to team up with students who shared similar goals and ethics as myself and create real, sustainable solutions for underprivileged communities,” she said.
As a design lead for the EWB Peru Team, Napoli helped establish a clean, sustainable drinking water system for a primary school in the village of Maras, Peru.
“I was able to apply my engineering skills, tackle real problems faced in our global communities, and learn about how each solution must be unique for the culture it applies to,” she said. “Not only did these trips give me the opportunity to see first-hand the positive impact this organization was making, but it also allowed me to create friendships that I will have for the rest of my life.”
Shaping the Future of Energy
For two consecutive summers, Napoli worked as an environmental services intern for Next Era Energy, Inc., a global renewable energy company, where she has provided support for environmental compliance and sustainability initiatives to all units of the company.
This July, she will be starting her professional career as an Environmental Specialist for NextEra Energy at their Juno Beach, Florida location. Her duties will include improving the sustainability of natural gas sites while continuing to safely develop solar and wind sites.
“I am extremely interested in the power generation field, and I look forward to continuing a career focused in sustainable power generation,” she said.
When Napoli is not engineering a more sustainable future, she is also a creative storyteller. Prior to graduating from UF, she published a two-part fictional novel, The Guardians of the Forest.