student-prof-oscar

Hometown: Greensboro, NC
High School: Grimsley Senior High School
Major(s)/Minor(s): Environmental Science Major, Computer Science Minor
Expected Graduation: May 2017
University highlights, achievements, awards:
Buckley Public Service Scholar, Phillips Ambassador, Pate Scholar, Gilman International Scholar, Bonner Leader

I became an environmental science major because…

When I began at UNC, I was completely undecided on what I wanted to study. My favorite topics in high school involved earth systems and how the growing population was changing the relationship between people and natural resources. I wasn’t sure what opportunities there were to pursue these as an undergraduate, but decided to take the intro Environmental Science courses at UNC.

I ended up committing to Environmental Science because of the huge range of potential applications. Studies in sustainability or ecology can be coupled with engineering, life sciences, and many other fields. My specific interest is computer science. When I look at where the most attention is being put in the field of technology, sustainability and the environment is an obvious theme. All of the major players in tech are shifting focus to efficiency in a changing climate – Google and Apple’s clean energy data centers, Microsoft’s investment in photovoltaics, etc. And, there are also new companies developing innovative new solutions, like Tesla Motors. I think the demand for tech solutions to environmental problems like energy and food production is only going to increase in the future, and I’m hoping to be a part of it.

My favorite experience as an environmental studies major was…

If I wasn’t an Environmental Science major, I may have never visited Bangkok, Thailand! The seven months I spent studying abroad there were definitely the highlight of my undergraduate experience so far. Bangkok is a very unique, and sometimes overwhelming, city. There were certainly challenges over the course of the trip, but overall it was an amazing experience. I would recommend the field site to anyone interested in renewable energy and the challenges faced by the rapidly developing cities of Southeast Asia.

After I graduate I want to…

Immediately after graduation? Travel more! My time in Asia gave me a taste of international travel and I would like to explore more areas of the world after senior year. I’m looking in to several of UNC’s self-designed research grants and will hopefully find one that I can apply to somewhere I haven’t been, like Europe or Africa.

My longer term career goals involve finding a position where computer science and sustainability intersect.  I’m not sure what that looks like yet, or where in the world it might be, but am open-minded about the possibilities.

My favorite place to study at UNC is…

My dorm is adjacent to the arboretum on campus, it’s a great spot for reading or reviewing notes. If I have real work to do I’ll go to the first floor of Davis Library – large windows, just enough background noise, and a view of the Pitt.

What I like to do in my free time…

I love trail running. I’ll go running in Battle Park next to campus whenever I have time. If I’m feeling more ambitious I’ll cycle to the trails at Carolina North. Unfortunately an injury kept me from getting to the starting line of my first marathon last semester, but I’ve finally recovered and still plan to complete the race this year.

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