Introducing Sofiia Fursa: Summer Intern
How it all began
As long as I can remember, I was always fascinated by the beauty hidden even in the smallest details of our planet Earth. Just imagine the juicy peach color projected on the clouds by the evening sun, the soft rustling of deep green leaves accompanied by the orchestra of live creatures, or even the beautiful spirals and stars portrayed on the frozen window in the chilly winter morning. Isn’t it inspirational? As an 8-year-old, these little things are exactly what taught me to love and respect nature. It was around that age when I first started picking up trash and “lecturing” other kids on their littering habits. In retrospect, this work may not be very significant, but it serves as the starting point for my journey and provides valuable insights into my character.
A Little Bit About Me
This May, I completed my third year at the University of Minnesota where I am majoring in biochemistry with a minor in statistics. Currently, I am a member of the Clean Energy Leaders Program at the U.
I was born in a small city in Russia called Armavir. When I was 15, my family decided to travel abroad and settle in Minnesota. I like to explore new things, therefore, you can find me with a new hobby every week. However, some hobbies that stuck with me are reading, cooking, and swimming. Something I can look at forever is the night sky full of stars somewhere far away from the city lights. It fascinates me how bright stars become in the absence of “distractions.”
Experience and Expectations
While adjusting to my new life in Minnesota, my focus on ecology faded to the back of my mind as I navigated American high school. As I entered college, I was able to regain my passion for the environment and sustainability through the project my group and I completed in an ecology laboratory course. We were exploring nitrogen and phosphorus effects on eutrophication, which is defined by deadly levels of plant growth in bodies of water due to excess nutrients, in the Gulf of Mexico. Once my class came to an end, I started independent learning on sustainability, clean energy and eventually, environmental policy.
Joining the Clean Energy Leaders program further deepened my knowledge through a biodiversity survey project conducted on behalf of the UMN Office of Sustainability and served as the stepping stone for the University’s biodiversity rating in the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS) program by AASHE. This project revealed the importance of policy-influenced standards as a backbone of any environmental sustainability or clean energy work.
In the future, I aspire to become a toxicologist to conduct research on the toxicity of chemicals and monitor industrial waste safety for the environment. This work is intertwined with issues of policy, equity, and ethics. Similarly to CEEM’s work of educating and delivering its members’ voices to legislators, one of the responsibilities of the toxicologist is to represent the voices of the vulnerable to policymakers in an accurate and data-driven manner.
As an intern for Clean Energy Economy Minnesota, I am committed to finding and delivering accurate information on recent clean energy events, industry trends, and any other topics relevant to the future of clean energy in Minnesota.