Caroline Weiss

International Experience Country:
Cohort Year:
Home Institution:

University of Pittsburgh | Oakland

Heinz Programming Area:
Caroline Weiss is a junior double majoring in Environmental Studies and Political Science, as well as pursuing a certificate in Global Studies. She is particularly interested in clean energy, land conservation, and wildlife protection. While abroad, Caroline is excited to learn about sustainability and renewable energy in a global context.  Outside of school, Caroline is involved in Epsilon Eta Environmental Honors Fraternity, plays French horn, and works as an Eco-Rep. She loves spending time outside, especially hiking, running and kayaking. 
International Experience Summary:

Caroline Weiss spent a life-changing six weeks in Iceland studying renewable energy, technology, and resource economics through the School for International Training. She learned introductory Icelandic, which was enjoyable and extremely helpful culturally, especially when greeting people or ordering in restaurants. With 24 other students from universities across the U.S., Caroline traveled around all of Iceland to explore the various landscapes and types of clean energy utilized by different regions. For example, her group toured a district heating plant in Isafjordur, geothermal areas in the Reykjanes peninsula, and the Kárahnjúkar hydropower plant in the southwest. They studied at various institutions, including the University Centre of the Westfjords and the University of Akureyri, with several different professors and guest speakers. Overall, tours of renewable energy power plants, hikes in remote Iceland, an in-depth engineering course, and her independent research project on Icelandic energy policy opened her eyes to the advantages of Icelandic geology and governmental actions.

Notable excursions included Þingvellir National Park, whale watching, several breathtaking waterfalls, the Highlands, basalt columns, craters, and an active volcano. From meaningful experiential learning, guest lectures, and classwork, Caroline gained a deep understanding of how Iceland has harnessed its renewable energy resources and the consequential societal benefits. Icelanders enjoy high energy security, minimal pollution, little need to conserve energy and hardly any political tension regarding climate action. To further study renewable energy, Caroline intends to pursue a career in energy policy and to revisit Iceland for further study/exploration in the future.

Community Engagement Experience Summary:

CEE Title  Cross-Cultural Cooking Class  

My group’s CEE was a cross-cultural cooking class that highlighted recipes from each of the countries that we studied this summer. We created a cookbook with two recipes from each country, such as Chinese hot pot and Icelandic skyr cake. This cookbook was shared with registrants for our virtual event. The event itself was a cooking class in which we demonstrated how to make two of the recipes from the cookbook: South African potato fritters and Hokey Pokey, a sugary candy from New Zealand. In addition to teaching audience members how to cook these dishes, we shared a presentation about the recipes included in the cookbook. For example, I spoke about the cultural significance of Icelandic rye bread, which is cooked underground thanks to geothermal heat. Audience members cooked along with us and actively engaged in conversation about their global interests as well as the recipes themselves. The event lasted an hour and attracted both college and high school, students.