Priera Panescu (Chemistry and Biochemistry)

1. What aspects/topics of INFEWS have you enjoyed most, and has INFEWS changed your thinking regarding sustainability?

I’ve especially enjoyed the field trip class! The class is so unique because trainees get to physically go to locations around Los Angeles where science and technology is being actively used and developed to create more sustainable practices around LA. In particular, the tour of UCLA and the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator really showcased some innovative ways Los Angeles is improving food, energy, and water sustainability.

The program has really opened my eyes to how much policy and regulations control how quickly (or slowly) sustainability goals are reached. It is frustrating how much bureaucracy is involved considering how pressing integrating sustainable solutions into urban environments is to slow down and reverse the effects of climate change.

 2. How is your participation in INFEWS contributing to your progress as a graduate student?

The program has provided inspiration for my research. For instance, the other trainees have unique expertise outside of my own, so it’s been really cool learning more about what resources are on campus and picking people’s brains about how to set up certain experiments. Additionally, learning more about the problems LA faces in relation to sustainability has helped me figure out how I can use my set of skills to develop possible solutions. Moreover, the professional support provided through our seminar class has also helped shape my CV and resume, so I feel more ready for the world that awaits me after graduating!

3. What would you tell graduate students who are considering the INFEWS program?

INFEWS provides unique opportunities for STEM, business, and policy students to discover more about the urgent sustainability issues urban environments face, to learn possible ways to tackle these issues, and to meet possible research collaborators inside and outside of UCLA. Learning more about the actual problems LA is currently facing provides inspiration for possible applications of future research that is grounded in what is really needed for our future. INFEWS also provides trainees professional development opportunities like diversity training, CV writing workshops, and an internship. All of this really makes students more marketable after graduating and more attune to the needs of urban centers.

To learn more about other trainees in our 2018-2019 cohort, please click here.