Rachel Meyer

International Experience Country:
Cohort Year:
Home Institution:

University of Pittsburgh | Oakland

Heinz Programming Area:
International Experience Summary:

Rachel Meyer spent the summer studying and travelling in Australia with the University of New South Wales in the cities of Darwin, Melbourne, Sydney, and Cairns. Her program focused on engineering and renewable energy, and the energy challenges that the world will face in the coming century. She was surprised to learn that while Australia is a leader in renewable energy, it also has the highest per capita greenhouse gas emissions in the world and has similar sustainability issues to the United States. While camping in Kakadu National Park, she learned about uranium mining for nuclear energy which occurs inside the park and directly affects the livelihood of the Aboriginal people living there, which is just one of the examples of how energy extraction can have negative effects. She was able to further explore her passion for wind energy by visiting a wind farm outside of Melbourne and designing an original wind turbine for her final program project. While travelling, she was able to experience different aspects of Australian culture by camping, hiking the beautiful terrain, going to an event at the Sydney Opera House, snorkeling the Great Barrier Reef, and much more. She was lucky to “see more of Australia than most Australians,” as she was often told by her professors, and will always be thankful for this unforgettable experience.

Community Engagement Experience Summary:

CEE Title: Green & Global: Starting Local

Green and Global: Starting Local was a sustainability fair held at the University of Pittsburgh. The members of the group who organized this event had studied abroad in South Africa, Ireland, Italy, and Australia. The event educated attendees about sustainability in one of five main areas: energy, water, agriculture, recycling, and creative reuse, which were chosen based on the group members' experiences abroad. Attendees could walk around the room and visit the various presenters at each table. Attendees were given a card when they came in, and were challenged to receive a stamp from a least one table in each of the five categories. Once they completed this card, they were given a raffle ticket for one of three sustainable prizes. The presenters at this event included student groups from the University of Pittsburgh, Carnegie Mellon University, Chatham University, and Duquesne University, as well as individuals and organizations from around Pittsburgh. For example, the wind group from Engineers for a Sustainable World at Pitt demonstrated their prototype, and East End Food Co-Op had samples of their produce. In addition to the presenters, the group assembled a video with various clips relating to each of the five topics with additional information that wasn't shared at the tables. Those who attended were given insight into global sustainability issues, and were also educated on how those issues are addressed locally and how they could get involved in their communities.