I got to share my journey of how I became interested in engineering, product design, and sustainability with the freshman Living Sustainably classes recently. I appreciated the opportunity to reflect on how I got to where I am today as an engineer and share that experience with others, as I am closing out my senior year and rapidly approaching graduation. It was an interesting experience because freshmen are not always known for their attention span or audience participation, even during a 10-minute presentation on a topic that they should be able to connect with easily. I had to do more work with the first class and call on students to get them to participate in sharing ways that we commonly associate with living sustainably (the topic of their course- ugh freshmen!). However, the second group was much quicker to volunteer ideas, which was greatly appreciated.
We often associate living sustainably with practices like veganism and walking instead of driving, but it was exciting to share technological and engineering-based ways that people are trying to make the world more sustainable, such as showers that purify and recycle water as they run and cars fueled by biogas (the type of gas I am working to produce with my toilet and biogas digester in the future!). I also discussed opportunities that the freshmen have to get involved with sustainability work and/or engineering during the rest of the time at the Upper School. Although I have no expectation that all of the freshmen found me entertaining, I hope that I got through to a few of them and they might consider pursuing similar work of their own.