Kerry Wang, Real Life Superhero

Kerry was a boon to our program, and not just because his vest contained both Advil and a portal to Narnia, as can be seen in the diagram by Tina Tran. Kerry was energetic, enthusiastic, brilliant, and thoughtful in word and in action. We're so glad we could have him with us at SISE this summer, and that he'll forever be one of the #bestnerdsonearth.

He kindly shared his thoughts on SISE, which we lifted from Facebook.

You can find out more about Kerry here. We can't wait to see what's in store for him next.

 

 
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Yesterday, I got back from SISE (Summer Institute on Sustainability and Energy at U of Illinois at Chicago), a two-week "sustainability bootcamp". And boy, was it a bootcamp! I can't remember the last time I slept so little for so many consecutive days. If I wasn't up late working on a project, I was up late having some awesome conversations with people. Lecture topics ranged from sustainability strategy to entrepreneurship to electric vehicle technology.

The project entailed a revitalization of a neighborhood in Chicago, North Lawndale, whose population dropped by 2/3 since the 60's from white flight. More specifically, we looked at how changes to their transit infrastructure could aid their economic development (while avoiding displacement!). Working on this project gave me an opportunity to learn about Minneapolis's own awesome transit infrastructure as well as hear about some fresh ideas from my peers. Coming back from my airport (taking public transit of course), I couldn't help think: I wonder what traffic volume this road carries? Do we need 4 lanes here? I wonder how much economic potential that parking lot is displacing?

Prior to attending this bootcamp, I was actually a little nervous about having to spend two whole weeks with a bunch of strangers. There are a lot of players in the sustainability space, and they don't always get along or even talk to each other (what I've been trying to address at school). But none of my anxieties were realized here. I actually think SISE was one of the healthiest social environments I've ever been in...like ever. I think one of the best things about being in a high-performance environment like SISE is that the people who are really into sustainability know that they're only part of the solution, that making any real difference in this space means working with people way different from you. And this means being patient and understanding and listening and forgiving of people who live and think differently than you (I have many more thoughts on this, especially with respect to social movements). Everyone was so generous in sharing their experiences and knowledge as well as attention in listening to others. This is critical for any effective team in sustainability but also makes for making some really great friends. (Kerry Wang, Facebook post, August 2017)