Hometown: Medford, Calif.
Chemical Engineering major (class of 2024)
What got you interested in engineering?
When I was looking at majors I just watched YouTube videos for majors aligned with green energy and found that chemical engineering was the closest to what I was looking for.
What impact do you hope to have through your engineering career?
I truly hope to improve the energy sector and move away from a money-hungry market that only benefits a small population of people and towards a market that benefits the masses and creates a sustainable future.
Tell us about your service-learning project in your hometown?
When I was in my senior year of high school I got an amazing offer to be co-commissioner of a club that is a student led branch of the Neighborhood Food Project, called the Student Hunger Strike Force. Don't be fooled by the name, we weren't on strike and not eating. The club actually was trying to fight against the number of families that suffer from food insecurity in my hometown. About 30,000 people, 10,000 being children, in Medford struggle with hunger and aren't able to provide enough food to sufficiently live a healthy lifestyle. The club was easy to participate in: we canvassed 5 or more times a year and tabled two or three times. Student chose when they would like to participate and we reached out to several other community services clubs that my friend, who was the other co-commissioner, were in: Honors Society, Interact Club (Rotary), and Sparrow Clubs USA. Reaching out to the clubs helped us get more volunteers to reach our goal of 100 service hours. We had this goal, because an outside donor was going to provide $1,000 to our Sparrow if we reached our goal—which we did! While my friend and I were co-commissioners we not only achieved our 100 hour goal, but also set a couple records for bringing in the most food in one month: 35,000 pounds!
More background information for the club involves how the food was collected. John Javna, the founder of the Neighborhood Food Project had the brilliant idea to make donating non-perishable food easier than ever. When someone signed up there were given a green back and bimonthly on every second Saturday they would fill the bad with however much they were able to contribute and they would leave it on their porch. A neighborhood food coordinator would pick up the bags and then drop them off at the local food pantry distributer. The distributor would deliver the non-perishables to food banks across the city.
It was an amazing experience that I will always be happy to think back on. If the organization comes to Reno, everyone can find me volunteering there because it truly was a fulfilling experience and I met some of the best people in the Student Hunger Strike Force.
What does the CREATE program mean to you?
The CREATE program is an amazing opportunity that I am so honored to be a part of. The first cohort is full of amazing students who strive to be the best they can. So far I have really enjoyed being a part of my small group and learning from my mentor.
In what ways has your peer mentor helped you?
Jackie has been phenomenal and has giving me advice that has benefited me this year. Jackie was also able to put me in contact with someone who encouraged me to apply for research in Spain. I truly appreciate everything Jackie has done for me. It's been extremely wonderful getting to know everyone and to be a part of a group of talented young engineers that will hopefully set the stage for the next generation.
What advice would you give someone looking to follow in your footsteps?
For anyone who is considering engineering, I dare you to try it. It's okay to change your major later; no one will judge you for changing. But give it a try! The College of Engineering has some of the most hardworking and thoughtful professors. They strive to make your life easier even if it means it makes their life a little harder and I am grateful for everything they have done for me thus far and what they will do for me in the future.