How I’m Using my Newfound Confidence from Iceland


Sep 8, 2017

This past May, Rosemary joined us in Iceland for our Renewable Energy and Sustainability program as one of our first-ever GREEN Advantage Scholars. Inspired by her motivation, knowledge-hungry drive, and curiosity, we knew that she was going to be an exceptional addition to our Iceland program. Thrilled to have her as part our of GREEN Alumni community of more than 2,000 student leaders & young professonals around the world, we caught up with Amy to chat more about her experience in Iceland.  Read on to learn more about Rosemary & her biggest takeaways from her experience with us!

Meet Rosemary N.

Iceland: Renewable Energy & Sustainability 
May 2017

University: The College of New Jersey
Major: Civil Engineering
Age: 20
Hometown: Perth Amboy, New Jersey 

“I’m a proud social justice and environmental advocate and AmeriCorps member. I believe small acts can really change the world. I would like to be a civil engineer (with passing both FE and PE exams) as well as work on more sustainable infrastructure by design, efficiency, use of energy resources and the (recycled) materials used. “

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Tell us more about you! What is a day in the life of Rosemary like?

My life varies depending on where I am – at home or at college. When I’m at school, I have my routine (alarm clocks, classes, and community service). This schedule tends to flow without any hiccups until I’m working my 3rd graders who I tutor [laughs]. The students that I work with are part of an after-school program, and I absolutely love them! They definitely keep things interesting, trying to get out of doing their homework… ‘But Miss Roseberry I don’t want to!’ they’ll say. 

When I’m at home, the energy is high; you can usually find me helping care after my siblings, translating amongst family members, driving my grandpa to doctor’s appointments, and other things around our home. This can be a bit chaotic – there’s 7 of us in our home, after all! [laughs] This summer, I interned at Rutgers University helping with stormwater management in  NJ through the use of green infrastructure. When I wasn’t working, you could likely find me outside biking, hiking, or kayaking. 

What inspired you to submit your application for The GREEN Program?

Actually, after one of our school-related programs was canceled, I posted on Facebook about how I seeking another option. My friend, Jaritza, an Alum of TGP, actually commented telling me about this program! After I applied and heard that I had been accepted, I thought to myself, my dreams are in my grasp. And of course, I thought to myself, ‘What an adventurous bucketlist!’

Tell us more about your GREEN experience! When you think back to Iceland, what are some of the most memorable portions of your trip with us?

One memory that sticks out is definitely hiking during the camping portion of the trip. I specifically remember thinking to myself, ‘How am I going to make it up these slopes? A 5+ hour hike? No way.’

We made it, and it all hit me. I could hear the glaciers crack; I was in Iceland and I was here. I made it up this mountain. I then thought to myself, ‘What else am I capable of?’ You know that feeling when you feel unstoppable? I felt that in every fiber of my being. 

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What does #onlyontheGREENprogram mean to you?

It means adventure and education jam-packed in one. It means learning about tectonic plate activity in Iceland in the classroom, and hours later snorkeling in freezing water and seeing them. It’s about getting up close and personal with your studies.

Did you have a pivotal moment or an experience during your time in Iceland that has altered or shifted the way you view the world around you? 

The ‘Aha!’ moment of the trip was definitely was with another student on my program, Taylor. We were talking about our dreams to make the world a better place; she and I both intend to use our degrees in Environmental & Civil Engineering to get there. It was shocking, yet incredibly inspiring, to meet another person heavily involved in social justice, the environment, and engineering with confidence and determination. At home, I was beginning to feel unsure of how I could the world greener and happier, and through this program, I felt like I met other like-minded students. In this case, I met someone like a soul sister.

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Educationally, how would you say that your experience on TGP has benefited you moving forward as you continue working toward completing your degree? 

Yes, it absolutely has. TGP has helped me understand what types of courses I need to be taking to better understand what I can do in terms of green energy in accomplishing my goals.

What is your dream career, and has TGP had an impact on shaping this professional path? 

I see my career going down the path of sustainable living. While I don’t know that my dream career would be, I have this vision of constructing eco buildings with solar panels, plenty of glass windows and rooftop.This trip inspired a lot of brainstorming and idea creation for what this means for me – from the different types of renewable energies, to the places we ate, to our Capstone Project presentations. 

Why do you believe that other students like yourself, and others around the world, should have opportunities like TGP? 

Simply put, hands-on learning is the best way to learn. Meeting and networking with other like-minded individuals through this program makes you realize even if you don’t have a background in sustainability (or any type of area), all education is important and impactful on all levels. Making this planet greener is going to take people from all over the world to come together, and once you meet them, it sparks this determination and confidence to make it happen. 

So, what’s next for you? What would you like to accomplish this school year?

I’m definitely interested in seeking out professors that are knowledgeable in renewable energy resources around my region and doing some networking so I can gain a better understanding. Also, I’m feeling a lot more confident from this trip, so I’m looking to get on the E-Board of Humanitarian Engineering at my college.  I’m also (also) looking to get re-connected with alternative energy source opportunities in NJ in the way of off-grid housing. I’m just ready to learn more – in and out of the classroom!

– Original text + images by: Rosemary N.

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