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India, Take Two

May 20, 2015

About Me 

Lindsey Bressler is a rising third year International Affairs and Economics student with an interest in climate change and development. Originally from Tucson, Arizona, Lindsey spends a good deal of her time at Northeastern trying to adjust to the cold. However, when she’s not trying to brave the weather, you can find her leading campus tours, working on interfaith initiatives or editing for the Northeastern Political Review. In the fall, Lindsey is excited to start her first co-op at the Office of Public Affairs at the EPA. 

India, Take Two

Near the end of my sophomore year of high school, right in the middle of the AP Chemistry exam, I told myself I would never be a science person. While the other people in my class focused on acid-base equations, I failed at holding in my pneumonia-based cough. Now, I’m not saying that the act of studying chemistry necessarily causes pneumonia. However, that year, AP Chemistry consumed me. I woke up at 5:30 every day to come into school for zero-period lecture and stayed up late trying to decipher homework assignments.  

The story of how I, an International Affairs and Economics major, ended up on an Engineering Dialogue not once but twice is filled with many sentences that begin with “I never thought I would…” I never thought I would take an engineering course in college. I never thought I would fall in love with India and its complexities. I never thought I would spend my Tuesday afternoons doing research in the basement of Snell Engineering. I never thought I would crave spicy food to the point where I need to have a bottle of hot sauce stocked in my pantry. However, here I am, living what I never imagined I would.

Through a grant from the University Scholars Program, I learned about the Climate Change Science and Policy Dialogue to India with Professor Auroop Ganguly. None of the other Dialogues totally spoke to me, so I decided to take a chance on this one and applied on a bit of a whim. After all, I thought to myself, climate change affects everything, right?

When I actually arrived in India, the Dialogue challenged me and also surprised me. I always considered myself more geared towards the social sciences because I’m deeply interested in people’s lives. I never saw climate change, or engineering, for that matter, as human-focused as I did when I was in India. The Dialogue was fairly evenly split between engineers and non-engineers. One of the biggest takeaways I learned after the Dialogue was that in order to work on solving big issues like climate change, it’s going to take a lot of collaboration.

I was even more surprised to continue to work on climate change issues with Professor Ganguly back on campus in the Sustainability and Data Sciences Lab. The impacts of my month in India weren’t limited to the trip. In the lab, along with some of my other classmates from the Dialogue, I worked on writing encyclopedia chapters on climate change. My specific focus is climate change and development, an issue that I hope to continue exploring throughout my time at Northeastern.  

In a few days, I’ll be returning to India to act as a mentor on the 2015 Dialogue. Like last time, we’ll be exploring Mumbai, Bangalore, Kerala and Delhi, hearing guest lectures from the top academics in the country and conducting War Games on climate change science and policy. This year, we’ll also spend more time in the North, staying in Kolkata and even visiting the Himalayas.

Throughout the next month or so, I hope to document the experiences of the 2015 Climate Change Science and Policy Dialogue to India. Thankfully, my resolution to never think about science again didn’t quite pan out. So, get ready to (digitally) join me, Professor Ganguly, and the 27 other Northeastern students as we explore India and learn from some of the brightest climate scientists in the world. Along the way, I’ll be posting my thoughts and probably more than a few pictures of food. I can’t wait to be back. Thanks for joining me this time around!