Q&A with Andrea Sainz Mapes, an Environmental Engineering alumna

Andrea Sainz Mapes, APSC 462
Andrea Sainz Mapes, APSC 462

Andrea participated in the International Service Learning program, Global Engineering Leadership course, in 2017 and was placed in Bangalore, India at SELCO Foundation. One of the many things in which SELCO Foundation partakes in is tackling design challenges looking at specific energy access challenges for those living in marginalized communities. Andrea’s main project was working on prototyping solar-powered autoclaves for medical equipment sterilization.

How did taking an academic course as a pre-req before you went on placement influence your ability to conduct your main project?

AS: The academic course influenced the focus of my placement. Going through this type of experience with constant guided reflection helps to channel attention into the special topics of the curriculum. Conducting the project required technical knowledge from my overall studies, however the course helped me to increase my own awareness on my relationships and interactions with others at the work place, which are necessary to get the work done.

What did you learn through your ISL experience? What was your biggest challenge?

AS: The great impact that people you surround yourself with can have, I learnt how important it is to have an everyday community to enrich experiences.

It was great challenge for me to accept the great amount of attention I would call in some areas of India and to learn to be when uncomfortable. I had to accept a situation that was out of my control that impacted my life and learn to live with it.

How has your participation in ISL influenced your life path, career, and/or academic trajectory?

AS: My placement at SELCO was my first encounter with the sustainable energy sector and it showcased the positive changes that energy security could bring to communities. It was an element that helped me pick to focus my career towards that direction.

What are you up to nowadays? 

AS: I am completing my Masters in Sustainable Energy at Denmark’s Technical University. I am also taking an extended Master’s label from the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) that involves training for achieving climate change mitigation and adaptation solutions, becoming part of the largest community of climate entrepreneurs in Europe.


Originally featured at Andrea Sainz Mapes, APSC 462

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