"As a girl from Texas who had never traveled, never been on a plane, never seen a mountain... this trip has inspired me and truly changed me as a person."
Why do you believe that you are the next-generation pioneer of your industry?
I represent the next-generation because my wide-eyed, bushy-tailed, big-dreaming spirit has not been beaten down. I thrive when I can be creative and innovative. I long to help reduce carbon footprints in industry without making it a hassle for those working in it. I crave the ability to improve our economy through a complete and total revolution of industry and energy methods. I have big ideas that aren’t always feasible, but being told no does not scare me.
What is your story? What doesn't your resume tell us about you?
Life looks a lot different from the back of a horse. When I was in diapers my daddy made sure that I knew this, and as I've grown he made sure I applied this principle throughout my life. I have always been told I was smart, a born leader, a great sister, a teachers pet, and so much more. But I have also always been told to be humble and remember that people are important. I was incredibly involved in my school communities from the first day of kindergarten, which lead me to become a Resident Assistant in my sophomore year of college. I thought I would just end up being the big sister of the wing, but instead I've been molded and shaped into an entirely new person. I have been exposed to personalities and people that my small south Texas town could have never prepared me for. I've been challenged to work in teams with people I disagree with. I've been taught how to handle the humdrum and the red tape, but I've also been reminded of that defining principle my daddy taught me... as an RA it can be difficult to remember to get off your high horse and stand eye to eye with your residents. However, it is always worth the bumps in the road to be able to build them up as well. This job is so defining to me not only because it was my first job, but also because it is the one that shook me to my core and built me from the ground up. With the skills I learned and relearned, I was able to enter a highly competitive internship at Huber Engineered Woods in the summer of 2016 and work with people ten, twenty, and thirty years my senior with dignity and humility. I was able to be taken seriously but also able to build relationships on my short term job. I was able to use those relationships to influence my big project for that summer as well. As a woman in engineering, I have been told to expect to be treated as lesser, but instead I've been able to hold myself to higher standards.
"If you’re a student interested in sustainable development, don’t give up... Stay on the path. You can and you will do anything you set your heart on if you put your all into it."
How do you want to leave your impact on the world?
My big dream is to somehow be able to make a global impact that promotes sustainability, clean energy, and the pursuit of STEM education. I would like to eventually work on the development of cleaner energy methods in order to make it possible to have alternative energies become a capital product instead of currency. However, after my Summer 2016 internship with Huber Engineered Woods, I discovered my passion for improving existing systems and making so that they are both more cost effective, user friendly, and sustainable. This is generally described as maintenance and reliability engineering on the project management side of the spectrum, where my daddy ironically spent most of his professional career, and I would like to pursue a career in this immediately upon graduation. I would like to invest in companies and programs that push children in every tax bracket to find a love for STEM fields (and in turn greener education as well). I love the current trend that our society is taking towards encouraging young women to pursue STEM, and would like to see it progress even further. My dreams and my plans change like the weather, but my major focus stays the same. I want to do what my Daddy has always taught me to... to leave a place better than I found it when I entered it.
Tell us about your leadership experiences.
From the day I was born, my parents told me I was a leader. I found myself being teased for being a teachers pet and later being complained to about being bossy. I was heavily involved in choir from 2nd to 8th grade, founded my school's newspaper in the fifth grade, joined Student Council in 6th and 7th, fell in love with theater in 8th, and in the course of my four years in high school I was a member of 11 organizations while being casted in 4 annual musicals and earning a 5.12 GPA. In college, I joined a sorority for the first two years until I decided to step away from that opportunity to focus more on my newfound Resident Assistant job and my major. After completing my GREEN Program trip to Iceland, I jumped at the opportunity to represent GREEN on my campus. Needless to say, I'm an extreme multitasker and have done my best to live up to my parents assumption that I would be a leader. Although, I must say that my definition of a leader has changed as I've gotten older. I no longer strive to be the "boss," but would rather make sure everyone's voice is heard and that decisions are made in the best interest of those involved. I let others speak. I focus on action and planning.
What is the biggest take-away and/or favorite part of your GREEN Program experience?
Through The GREEN Program, I learned that I am truly capable of anything that I put my mind to. GREEN enabled me to become a truly independent young woman, while also helping me to remember that there is no way I could survive without my support system. GREEN forced me 100% out of my comfort zone from the day they emailed my acceptance letter, and threw me into the open waters of learning to "adult" once I was in Iceland. I learned that there are other people in this world that are actually making a difference instead of just talking about it, and that truly inspired me. Standing at the bio-fuel plant and learning that every single diesel engine has the potential to use canola oil rather than fossil fuels was my big eye awakening moment. I found my fire in utilizing all of my resources available to make my visions become reality, and I realized I could never stray from a sustainability focused career.
Tell us about your Capstone project experience and your journey, your team, the ideation and implementation.
At the time that I went to Iceland, I was still convinced that my calling was specifically in the design and implementation of sustainable buildings and infrastructure. My capstone group and I worked to make all of our similar dreams of sustainable housing become a reality. We started with big, massive dreams that we quickly realized would be impossible to implement in under a week with limited internet access. In the end, we decided to create a consulting firm that would work directly with the sustainable vendors in a specific city in order to give future homeowners the chance to compare the sustainable choices to the generic ones as well as allow current homeowners to find more economic ways to upgrade their existing homes. We ran our project on the principle that people will choose to do good when it is cheap or competitive with the bad.
What does #onlyontheGREENprogram mean to you?
#onlyontheGREENprogram is a bright red flag saying “HEY! This is an experience you will never get to have again! Make the most of it! Join us! We do things different here!” and that is the raw truth. The GREEN Program offers a completely different study abroad than any university every will. Immersive education with an adventure component is the name of GREEN’s game, and the people in charge of it are just as passionate as the students.