A Washington boy through and through, I was born in Kirkland, Washington into a loving family of four that would shortly turn into five (my younger brother would be born 3 years later). Originally from Kent I moved to Puyallup with my family at the age of five and we’ve called that our home ever since. After graduating from Governor John R. Rogers High School in 2014, I moved to Seattle to enroll into the University of Washington, following my older brother and father before me. My original plan was to pursue a degree from the College of Engineering, but as time progressed I realized that just wasn’t what I wanted. After my freshman year I switched my intended major to business and haven’t looked back since. With the focuses of marketing and entrepreneurship, I believe that I have finally found fields that are both engaging and challenging for me.
Me feeding a kangaroo while in Sydney, Australia before the program started.
I can say with confidence that most of my fellow business majors wouldn’t be interested in a program like this, asking “Where’s the money in it?”, but that’s what makes me different. I strongly believe there is no better way to improve open-mindedness and prevent hate than with travel. Exposing one’s self to the world and its many cultures has a profound effect on any person, truly making them more tolerant and culturally-intelligent. Most of us can agree that in today’s world there are few people who need more cultural awareness than business people. It seems you can’t go a whole day without seeing news about a business doing something ignorant, and that’s where I hope I can make a difference. Throughout my college career, and throughout my life, I have tried to stay abreast on current and past social issues by taking courses and reading in my free time. When I saw this course on Sovereignty, Environment, and Representation in Aotearoa, I knew it was for me. This is just one more thing that can help me make the business world a better place. Whether we like it or not, businesses are here to stay and I hope that my experiences on this trip will help shape me into a future businessman that people will be proud of.
August 28, 2017
After completing an associates degree in my home state of Illinois at McHenry County College, I chose to serve for three year with Americorps. AmeriCorps is a civil society program supported by the U.S. federal government, foundations, corporations, and other donors engaging adults in public service work with a goal of “helping others and meeting critical needs in the community.” First as a tutor and mentor for eight grade students in the Watts neighborhood of Los Angeles with City Year, second as an environmental restoration crew member working alongside a diverse cohort from around the globe, and finally as a volunteer specialist with Earthcorps in Seattle where my team lead over 10,000 volunteers in Puget Sound parks and natural areas.
Here I can be seen leading a youth group at a special event where the 51st United States Secretary of the Interior, Sally Jewel serving in the administration of President Barack Obama, was digging in the dirt alongside us.
Currently, I am completing my first bachelors degree in Conservation Science and Resource Management and this study abroad course will allow me to see how environmental justice and Sovereignty is managed with indigenous cultures in another part of the world. The Maori people of New Zealand have produced environmentally charged and intimately mystical novels that had inspired me to visit their world for many years. So far, I cannot formulate words to express the deep gratitude and sense of awe as I participate in culturally immersive events both ancient and inspiring.
I hope to bring the knowledge I gain back to North America where I will be better equipped to build bridges between the US government and tribal nations, ultimately protecting human rights and preserving functional ecosystems and sacred ground. Following this experience, I will act as a UW Bothell Study Abroad Ambassador.
In my spare time I enjoy riding my bike, hiking, and playing video games. I am also a musician with roots in the Chicago-land underground music scene where basements, roller rinks, and youth centers were venues for expression, community building, and hearing loss in the sprawling rural/suburban McHenry County.