'UC is a great uni for aspiring engineers...'
Study Abroad student
Certificate of Proficiency Engineering
CEO and Founder, de Lune, USA
The chance to study in a city utilising environmental engineering and design was the perfect opportunity for Mimi, who travelled down from New York USA for the Study Abroad programme through Cornell University.
'I always relished my math and science classes, and I wanted to apply my problem-solving skills to the multitude of environmental sustainability crises our world faces,' she says. 'UC is a great uni for aspiring engineers, with a very high percentage of the students in maths and science-related degrees, so I knew I would fit in.
'Post-earthquake Christchurch is also an interesting place to be for an Environmental Engineer to see how designing for sustainability and resilience can be put into action. Plus, I always wanted to come to New Zealand, and Christchurch is well-located for exploring the country above and below.'
Mimi has also made it a priority to explore UC's community to get the most out of the opportunity to study in a new culture.
'Living at Ilam Apartments has been fun because it's an eclectic mix of Kiwi and international students who are keen to have a good time. I also love being close to Christchurch's beautiful Hagley Park and the weekend farmers' markets.
'UC also has great facilities that I've utilised all semester, like the libraries, Ilam fields and gardens, and the (free!) Recreation Centre. I play tennis in the UC Tennis Club once or twice a week, I go to yoga classes at the Rec Centre, I help out at the Okeover Community Garden on Fridays in exchange for fresh veggies, and I joined the UC Buddhist Society which provides meditation classes once a week. So many awesome outlets to choose from here!
'My other responsibility here has been to explore! On the weekends and on break I've done some traveling around NZ. Outside of UC, I've travelled to Queenstown, Kaikoura, Arthur's Pass, Nelson, and Wellington, among other incredibly beautiful places.'
Mimi made the most of her academic opportunities as well.
'I've really enjoyed my papers this semester because I found that the emphasis was on genuine learning instead of memorization, grades, or competition. I liked that there were multiple lecturers for each course, who rotated throughout the semester. This gave variety and fresh perspectives to each lecture.
'I was only girl in some of my engineering labs, but it inspired me to participate in some UC events that promoted women in STEM. I joined the Society of Women Engineers and am using this experience as inspiration to pave the way for other like-minded girls.'
With her experiences at UC, Mimi has a strong goal in mind to make a difference to sustainable engineering practices back at home. After graduating from Cornell with a degree in Environmental Engineering, she has since moved to Washington D.C. and taken on a number of different projects, including teaching yoga, starting her own sustainable beverage business de Lune ('promoting sustainability in a way I never expected!'), and recently created a Design Thinking Workshop at the Smithsonian American Art Museum.
'I want to contribute in a meaningful way to mitigating climate change and promoting sustainability, possibly in the areas of water treatment or resource management,' she says. 'I want to practice creative design-thinking, and I want to inspire and empower other girls to join the engineering field.'