Ally Peccia | Solving Riddles to Make an Impact

Montana native Ally Peccia, who grew up working in her family’s independent bookstore and later assisted with in situ hybridization cytogenetic testing at the Shodair Children’s Hospital Genetics Lab in Helena, believes that solving the world’s great engineering technology challenges will take more than math and science. She chose Columbia so that she could combine intensive engineering studies with a rigorous liberal arts curriculum.

“I like riddles and problem-solving, and engineering is kind of an extension of that,” Peccia says. “I’m interested in Earth & Environmental Engineering, specifically international development, because I want to make a direct impact on people’s lives.”

Since arriving in Morningside Heights, Peccia has gotten involved with Engineers Without Borders, continuing a long history of volunteering, and she hopes to conduct research with Earth & Environmental Engineering faculty. In the long run, she foresees a career in international development working with an organization like Engineers Without Borders or Tetra Tech.

Outside the classroom, Peccia is an outdoor enthusiast who enjoys hiking, biking, swimming, running, yoga, and adventuring in and around New York City—often in the Columbia Engineering beanie she got from Dean Boyce at the Class of 2020 assembly.

“There’s a strong sense of community at Columbia,” she says. “I always feel like there are people rooting for me to succeed, whether friends, professors, or advisors.”

—by Jesse Adams

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