CINQ 396 Week 1 Post

Why did I enroll in this course?

Hello, welcome to my CINQ 396 blog. My name is Belle Sullivan and I’m a freshman studying Environmental Engineering. My real passion is for sustainability. This is how I first discovered the GSI Fellowship, through a Sustainable Leigh newsletter. What first drew me to the fellowship was the style of work. It wasn’t advertised as a class rather the fellowship gives students the opportunity to work through problems and try to accomplish something real.  I won’t ignore the fact that the research and humanitarian aspects look great on a resume, however, I am pursuing this opportunity more to learn and create an impact in a global setting. Traveling to other countries gives you a perspective on your own life that you can never see from just living in america or an equally wealthy western nation. I think I learned more about what I wanted to do with my life on a month long trip to build houses in the Dominican Republic than I did throughout my entire high school career. Learning more about the world will increase my opportunity to impact it. For all these reasons I think the fellowship program is a great opportunity for students and I look forward to starting my work.

How do I envision this course making me a better Environmental Engineering student?

As mentioned previously, my main field of interest is sustainability. Our last seminar covered topics that I found particularly interesting. There are many more aspects to “impact” than simply creating technology that will enable a task to be accomplished. Previously I had imagined my work as an environmental engineer would be to create technology that could save the world, maybe perfect hydrogen powered cars or design a flawless city that consumed all the green house gases it emitted. However, as we talked about last night simply enabling these types of things to happen doesn’t mean that they will. There are other factors involved: is it marketable, will people want it, is it culturally acceptable. To create an impact you need to see the entire picture. There will always be road blocks and you have to be adaptable and persistent to create an impact. This seminar series has already taught me so much after just one session that I can’t imagine what kind of effect this course as a whole will have on my attitude towards not just my degree but my future in my field. Hopefully the seminar can give me a basis for thinking about problems that you can’t get just from classroom learning. In addition to this the fellowship will give me an opportunity to do research on a project that is relevant to my major. While I haven’t exactly started growing mushrooms yet after just one meeting with my team I feel I already have a good understanding of what our goals are and I’m eager to tackle the challenge and get some mushrooms to grow.

Access to eyeglasses?

I believe the key to this problem is affordability. The problem this eye-glass question poses as many angles. If there was a cheap and easy way for people with eye sight problems to be diagnosed this would be step one. “Reverse engineering” a machine of some sort that would allow someone less skilled than an optometrist to give people their prescription number would in turn let people purchase glasses without needing to see an optometrist. This isn’t the only step in solving the problem because many people cannot afford glasses or don’t have a place to buy them. However, once you create the demand for the product, glasses,  it makes it easier for the product to be brought in. I would approach the problem by trying to create affordable tools that would encourage people, not optometrists, to solve the eye glasses problem.