What is your story? What doesn't your resume tell us about you?
While I have recently begun my adventure in sustainability, I am also deeply interested in world cultures. Traveling is an incredible character-building experience. I love being immersed in a completely different, and sometimes uncomfortable, environment where my previous perspective and mindset is challenged to view the world in an entirely different way. These experiences have really contributed to my growth as a student, always eager to learn, but also to my growth as a human being where I develop a new understanding for a culture and its people. I have taken this interest to Penn State where I help host our annual International Culture Night to celebrate the diverse community we have on campus. Aside from traveling and experiencing different cultures, I am also active in defending our planet’s wild lands through a blog I contribute to with some of my high school pals. While doing communal work to preserve our planet’s natural beauty is essential, I think it is equally as important to communicate these needs to others as a source of inspiration for action. Now, apart from these two facts, my resume also does not tell you that in my free time I am an avid raquetballer, triathlete, film photographer, and poet.
How do you want to leave your impact on the world?
Generally speaking, I want to lead my life in service of people who have been much less fortunate than myself and may not have been given an equal opportunity to pursue their passions and their own lifestyle. I think an important missing component in communities that are suffering insurmountable poverty is a lack of energy. Furthermore, I think clean energy that is easy to implement, like solar, is the key to developing impoverished areas. Access to electricity allows people to heat their shelters, boil water and cook, provide lighting at nighttime and, ideally, can power internet for a school. These important uses of electricity are all taken for granted in our privileged society, yet there are over a billion people in the world who lack it. Powering education with space heating and internet access may drastically increase a community’s well-being and contribute to the economic growth of a country. Boiling water to kill pathogens can reduce the risk of sickness or death. Energy can power the growth of a nation, and it can even be a clean, sustainable source. Essentially, this is the main reason why I want to study and design solar systems. However, I also want to create a more just society in which benefits and risks are equitably distributed. Currently, we live in quite the opposite society where developed nations are the largest benefactors and largest contributors to climate change. Meanwhile, other poor nations who are barely contributing to climate change are experiencing the most dramatic effects. To combat this imbalance, I want to lead a sustainable lifestyle and communicate the benefits of pursing sustainable living to our nation so that we may serve as an example to others, as well.
Describe your dream job or career.
My dream job is to design solar arrays in poor and undeveloped areas of the world so that communities may have access to electricity for clean water, heating or cooling, cooking, etc.
Tell us about your leadership experiences.
In addition to being a GREEN Ambassador, I hold three other leadership positions at Penn State. For three years, I have helped host an International Culture Night to celebrate my campus’s extensive international community and bring together all different cultures in a night of music, food, and games. I am the sole representative of the domestic community and actively work to engage students to experience other cultural food, language, etc. Additionally, I helped create a new student organization that is aimed at creating a Career Fair day for students seeking to obtain work, co-ops, and internships abroad. The idea originated from international students who are looking to return to their home countries to find work after school. Creating this organization has pressed me to build relationships with faculty campus-wide and also with large companies who are interested in recruiting to their international locations. Lastly, this coming year, I am serving my first term on Penn State’s Sustainability Advisory Council. The council recommends improvements to policies, operations, and sustainability initiatives on campus.
I want to lead my life in service of people who have been much less fortunate than myself and may not have been given an equal opportunity to pursue their passions and their own lifestyle.
What is the biggest take-away and/or favorite part of your GREEN Program experience?
Before my GREEN program in Iceland began, I had just started to become interested in renewable energy and sustainability. When I traveled to Iceland and visited the receding glaciers, geothermal plants, and hydropower plants, I was completely enthralled. The experience really served as a tipping point in my academic career. It made me realize how interested I really was in sustainable development, and it changed my future career goals. More importantly, I knew that I was entirely capable of making this change, and I really have the GREEN Program to thank for making me realize my true passion and potential. I feel like there are so many other students who, like me, can uncover themselves through the TGP, and this is why I have decided to be an Ambassador.
Where and When would you go in a time machine? Why?
I think an interesting time and place to travel in history would be 12th century Japan, the rise of the samurai. Many people misunderstand samurai as purely fighting figures. However, the samurai were actively engaged in elite politics and many were even poets. They followed Bushidō, or “the way of the warrior,” and lived in service of other people. I think it would be fascinating to go back in time to learn the code of Bushidō and practice the eight virtues with the samurai: Righteousness, Heroic Courage, Compassion, Respect, Integrity, Honor, Loyalty, and Discipline. In terms of Honor, the samurai believed that the only person you can judge is yourself. The decisions and actions of an individual are a direct reflection of that person. I think this is a quality that is lacking in today’s society due to the extensive use of social media which can act as a blanket over a person’s true self. Overall, I just think it would be really interesting to develop a deep understanding of the samurai mindset and try to modernize their ideologies to bring back to our current society.