Isabella Aida Cricco Doldan

Isabella Aida Cricco Doldan

The SBIO Department is proud to announce that our graduate student, Isabella Cricco Doldan, has won the Sustainable Biomaterials Outstanding GTA award! Here is what Isabella had to tell us about her time here in SBIO:


1.      Describe yourself in a couple sentences.  Tell us where you are from and some basics about your life outside of school. 

I am Isabella Cricco, a second-year master student in the Department of Sustainable Biomaterials working with Dr. Russell. I am from Asunción, Paraguay, I finished my undergraduate degree in Economics at Kansas State University, and after that I worked in industry as a financial analyst and pricing analyst for four years. In this time, I also started a small circular dress rental business that spurred my interest in the circular economy.

2.      Why did you choose the SBIO department and major, and what about it interests you?

I choose to come to SBIO because of my interest in working with Dr. Russell to learning more about the circular economy, to then transition to sustainability/circular economy related roles. I first learned about the circular economy through an online course I took prior to coming to Virginia Tech, and when I was looking for professors to work with at Virginia Tech, I was very happy to see Dr. Russell’s work on the circular economy. As I read more about her work on the environmental and economic analysis of value retention processes such as reuse, repair, refurbish and remanufacturing, and the barriers for their adoption, I became more interested in joining the SBIO program and pursue my master’s degree here.

3.      What are you learning/researching/working on right now and how will it help the world?

My research explores the social dimension of the circular economy, by looking at work in the circular economy from an organizational behavior perspective. One of the main objectives of my research is to understand what makes jobs meaningful in the context of the circular economy, and if employees understanding of the circular economy affects the levels of meaningfulness they experience in their jobs. Meaningfulness can be derived from many different aspects of work, such as relational aspects, or the impact employees feel they have through their work. My work will help bring more attention in the circular economy and sustainability space to important psychological aspects of the work, that are very relevant for human wellbeing.

4.      How has your time in the SBIO department at VT helped you? Is there one class or faculty member that greatly influenced you?

Through my master’s program at VT, I was able to develop knowledge on sustainability, circular economy, system’s thinking, industrial ecology, and research skills that have quipped me to think about situations and problems in a different way. Dr. Russell, my advisor, not only supported and guided me in developing these skills, but she also created a great working environment that contributed greatly to my personal wellbeing during this time. 

5.      Do you have any advice for future students thinking about joining the SBIO department?

There are many different paths within the SBIO Department. For any student thinking about joining SBIO, I would recommend they talk to different professors and students to understand these different paths and see what fits their interests the most.