Tina Tran

My name's Tina Tran. I'm from Orange County, California. I went to school at the University of California, Berkeley where I earned my BA in Sustainable Environmental Design. I work at Neutility, a solar construction firm in Irvine, CA.


What got you interested in sustainability?

I’ve had a strong appreciation for the ocean for as long as I can remember. As a child, I found myself interested in keeping the ocean clean - I remember wanting to be an engineer to create some type of lightweight laser that could obliterate all litter (I’m completely serious). So when I went to Berkeley as a Mechanical Engineering major, I found that something was missing from my education - and that was a focus on sustainability or environmental sciences. Naturally, I switched to the Sustainable Environmental Design major, which perfectly suited to both my creative and technical interests. I then traveled to Northern Europe, visiting Denmark, Sweden, Germany, and Switzerland, which peaked my interest in sustainability, and more specifically, sustainable design. I’m interested in how sustainable design and city planning/policies shape how we all live.

What sustainability, energy, and mobility issues are important to you?

The most important sustainability issues are global climate change and ways to mitigate emissions (renewable energy sources), social and environmental equity, and accessibility to public transportation.

What exciting projects/research are you working on now?

I am currently working a full-time job and focusing on volunteering. No projects as of yet!  

What are your plans for the next five years?

I plan to transition to a planning/government position for a few years before applying to grad school. I plan to study bioenergy (or another form of renewable energy) or renewable public transportation systems while in school. 

What made you want to apply to SISE?

This program is the perfect fit (I cannot enunciate how perfect) for the field I aim to grow my career in. I have a growing passion for sustainable design and renewable energy - and the public transportation sector is the perfect intersection of the two. I hope to gain more insight into this sector and learn from professionals who are currently in the field. The idea of working with other professionals indirectly related to the field of sustainability intrigues me - this is a great opportunity to learn all facets of sustainability. 

What are you most looking forward to doing in the city?

EVERYTHING! But seriously, I’m excited to visit Cloud Gate, Millenium Park, the Chicago Union Station, and Water Tower. I’m actually tempted to rent a bike once I’m there. Will definitely try all the food - can’t wait for that deep dish. 

Do you like cats? If not, are you willing to learn to like cats?

Cats are….cute, but I’m definitely more of a dog person.