Current students meet ’08 alumni at Iceland reunion

August 24th, 2018   |   SIT Study Abroad

Rosemary Ostfeld, who went on SIT’s summer program in Iceland in 2008, was decisive when she reached out to her fellow alumni earlier this year: “I’m going back to Iceland this June. Who’s with me?” Five classmates and two of their partners jumped at the idea. All were happy to meet the 23 students on the summer 2018 Iceland: Renewable Energy, Technology, and Resource Economics program and share stories of how their SIT experience shaped their life, career, and choices for further education. All five of the alumni have gone on to graduate school. Most have worked in careers related to renewable energy. All have retained their fondness of Iceland and enjoyed revisiting places they first saw as part of their undergraduate summer term.

I’m going back to Iceland this June. Who’s with me?”

After graduating from Wesleyan University, Rosemary attended the University of Cambridge (UK) where she earned a master’s in environmental policy and a PhD in land economy. She’s the founder of Sustainable Planet Incorporated (‪@healthyplaneat), encouraging people to reduce consumption of red meat as a way to decrease environmental impact.

Laura Nicholson talked to the 2018 students about successes and challenges she faced after her undergrad days and how her job search and further education brought her to where she is today. With degrees from Sarah Lawrence and UC Santa Barbara, she’s living in Portland, Oregon, where, among other work in the field of energy efficiency, she has designed and delivered professional development workshops on renewable energy for K-12 teachers.

Regina (Taurino) Ehlinger is an engineer who has designed solar systems and worked in energy efficiency. Recently married, she is currently in grad school studying data science/analytics at Rutgers. Her spouse, James Ehlinger, joined the reunion journey to Iceland.

Tyler Harvey graduated from Whitman College, then completed a PhD in physics at the University of Oregon. He is living in Germany, doing post-doctoral research on electron microscopy.

Michael Jezierny is a software engineer at Google. After completing his undergraduate degree in electrical engineering and computer science at Washington University in St. Louis, he went to Georgia Tech for a master’s degree before relocating to California.

Their SIT academic director in 2008 was David Timmons who, coincidentally, was serving in that same capacity this year and was happy to reminisce and facilitate conversations with this year’s students over lunch. Since helping to design SIT’s summer Iceland program in 2006, Dave has completed his doctorate and become a professor of renewable energy economics. In 2017–18, he took a sabbatical leave from the University of Massachusetts, Boston, to pursue a Fulbright scholarship in Mauritius, focusing on the economics of renewable energy in an island nation. Dave is also an alumnus of SIT’s World Issues Program and maintains strong ties with classmates from that cohort, including at occasional reunions.