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When a catchy song comes on the radio, a lot of people might find themselves tapping their foot or nodding their head in time. When I hear a catchy song (or any song, really), every atom in my body snaps into action; yes, my foot taps and my head nods, but also my shoulders shrug and my hips pop and my fingers snap and ultimately, I find myself dancing. Blood pulses through my veins in time with the music; my heart drops with the beat. To use all the clichés, the music puts a spell on me, and I quite honestly have no choice but to dance.

But dancing is not the only entity holding me captive in its beautiful spell; I am equally unable (and unwilling) to escape the call of sustainable design. Encompassing the complex interactions of technology, energy, water, materials, economics, environment, history, politics, and social interaction, designing with sustainability in mind presents the most complicated and intriguing challenge I’ve ever seen, and it calls to the problem-solver rooted deep inside me. Ever since my first deep dive into the topic in Culture, Energy, and the Environment my freshman year at Rice University, I’ve been utterly fascinated. Now, I’m completely hooked on exploring these issues in my career, especially as a designer of buildings and infrastructure in the built environment.

Since stumbling upon this passion, I’ve worked in several different industries: building design at Arup (2016), subsea engineering and operations at BP America (2015), and mineral processing research at Hazen Research, Inc (2014). I’ve also worked as a technical writing mentor for an engineering design class at Rice University, as the engineering team lead for Rice Solar Decathlon, and as a research assistant in a civil engineering lab at Rice University, all the while studying mechanical engineering, energy and water sustainability, and engineering leadership in my coursework.

Now back to dancing…. here’s a video from a recent west coast swing competition, Asia West Coast Swing Open in April 2019. This is a Jack and Jill Competition, so the dance is entirely improvisation, with a random parter and music selection. Enjoy!