How do you want to leave your impact on the world?
I believe that with small change there is an inspired large impact. I want to make communities and cities more environmentally designed while also considering how this design impacts the community's culture and history. I view the land, its culture, and its history as a resource which I feel called to protect and act as a voice for. This is why I am studying urban planning; so that I can someday soon be this voice for our valuable resources.
What is your story? What doesn't your resume tell us about you?
My resume lists accomplishments, but it can't communicate the drive which compelled me to accomplish such things. When I was younger, I grew up in a city that kept making mistakes in their planning processes. I noticed in the newspapers and online that there were always people responding to city-made decisions angrily; it was like no decision they made was the right one. This type of conflict compelled me to look at my city and my neighbourhood in a way that provoked the thoughts of how I would redesign it and reimagine it. At this time I had never even heard the term 'city planning,' so when I was finally introduced to the term I realized that that was what I wanted to do with my life.
Describe your dream job or career.
A Policy Planner for a relatively small Southern Ontario town absolutely rich with history.
Tell us about your leadership experiences.
Throughout my life I've been in active leadership roles, though I thrive best in leadership positions where the leaders are an equal part of the team. Growing up I was a Girl Guide, and loved the leadership and teamwork roles I took on. More professionally, I've been a leader in many student projects; as a tutor for local immigrants and refugees; and when I owned my own business I considered myself a leader of myself. As my own boss, I learned a lot about self-governance, patience, goal-setting, and of course effectively communicating with others as I ran my own business. I consider city planners to be leaders of communities, and I look forward to the many challenges and accomplishments that will come in the future as a student studying planning.
Describe a personal experience that has directly or indirectly influenced your career path.
I mentioned before about my childhood and teenage years spent in a mediocre city with constant backlash from the public, however there are some specific experiences that stick out. In a high school art class, I went for a walk through my city's downtown where we pointed out what we would change about it. I noticed empty brick walls which could thrive with murals, and desolate concrete slabs which could welcome public art and benches for people to sit on. This downton walk encouraged me to think about what I could change about the communities I live in, and inspired me to critically think about what it is I wanted to do with my life.
What is the biggest take-away and/or favorite part of your GREEN Program experience?
I come from a university program and geographical area where it seems that everyone thinks similarly and fosters similar goals: a society which is very homogenous in thought. When I met so many different GREEN adventurers in Iceland, I felt exposed to such a diverse group of thinkers which such colourful goals and aspirations. It was wonderful to be surrounded by people from around the world studying so many diverse subjects. While surrounded by these people, there was always something interesting to learn. Now that I'm home, I crave to be in a position where creativity, innovation, and adventure thrive as vibrantly as it did in Iceland on the GREEN Program.
Tell us about your Capstone project experience and your journey, your team, the ideation and implementation.
Developing the Capstone was one of my favourite parts about the GREEN Program. Grouped with students from backgrounds of business, environmental science, and environmental engineering, developing an idea that we were all interested in and committed to was incredibly engaging. After lots of discussion, we ultimately developed a business plan for a program much like the GREEN Program, but about sustainable food harvesting. This was an exciting idea because we all had some knowledge to contribute to the development of the idea, and we also all learned something new from each other, as well. Called the FoodCore, the program trained individuals who wanted to learn more about food sustainability, and sent them to community farms around the world which expressed need of developing more effective and sustainable food harvesting techniques. The student applicants would work as volunteers on the farm whose operators would offer them housing and food for their work. The Capstone project was very interesting, and I fondly think back to the creative development that supported it as a result of collaborating with such a diverse group of thinkers.
How will you use this experience to advance your personal goals?
It was a hurdle to quickly adapt to students of such diverse backgrounds, which is something I don't get to do often considering my group projects at the University of Waterloo are with students within my program. However the creative problem solving, communication techniques, and innovative collaboration of our expertise is a skill I look forward to developing even more in the future. As for the GREEN Program in general, the adventures I experienced and people I met taught me a lot about myself. I surpassed a lot of superficial limits I had unknowingly set for myself during my time in Iceland -- it is really cool to say that I hiked on a glacier, hiked a mountain, and snorkelled between two tectonic plates. I hope I get more chances in the future to be this adventurous again.
Where and when would you go in a time machine? Why?
1950s suburban Levittown. Fifties America is one of the most interesting cultural topics of the modern world, in my opinion. Suburban historyand war-time housing also informed my initial interest in urban planning, and going back to where the boom really started would definitely be really cool!
Is there a documentary or book that really changed the way you thought about something, or motivated you in a particular way?
'The Phantom Tollbooth' by Norton Juster taught me a lot about what creativity and excitement there is in the world if you just express a little bit of interest.