About me

My name is Kayla Trahey and I am a 5th year industrial engineering major. I am also receiving a certificate in sustainability and a concentration in health care systems. Something unique about me is that I was born on 1/24 at 1:24pm! I also was able to study abroad in Iceland this past summer. I studied renewable energy there and got to visit both hydro power and geothermal power plants. Iceland is full of waterfalls so it is pretty easy for them to harvest energy from the water. Iceland is also full of volcanic activity. All of their water is heated geothermally. While I was there a new volcano became active. I was able to fly in a helicopter over this volcano. I also got to travel around Iceland to 3 different cities. They were Reykjavik, Akuyeri, and Isafjourder. These towns were amazing. Within Isafjourder, there were different fjords. I was able to go sea kayaking and go between the different fjords. We saw whales, seals, starfish, and jellyfish. On one side of you would be the ocean and on the other was the mountains. The air was so clean it made running so easy. We were able to spend so much time in nature and go on tons of hikes. We actually went to a nature preserve and hiked 10 miles where we got to see artic foxes. We also scaled the side of the mountain and had to crawl up on all fours. We hiked a glacier while there as well and ziplined over waterfalls and rushing rivers. The food there was amazing and really expanded my taste to love all different types of fish. A traditional meal there was fish, potatoes, and a type of vegetable. All of their fruits that are grown in country are grown in greenhouses. They utilize an aquaponics system since their soil is very corrosive. Unfortunately, all that can really survive in it is potatoes and cabbage. Before greenhouse farming technology, Icelandic people ate a wide variety of food. From shark to whale to puffin. We got to experience black sand beaches there and even something called diamond beach. On this beach, the current pushes glacial icebergs onto the shore, causing it to look like it is covered in diamonds. We also got to walk behind waterfalls while there and even see one inside a cave. I am very excited for this upcoming ACRI project. I think it will be amazing to be able to hear from people who have such pride in their community. I am also excited to spend time in a rural area. I am from the Philadelphia area so I am very used to a lot of congestion and not much nature. I hope that from this project, we will be able to leave a real lasting impact on this community. Some of my current professional goals include possibly working in the healthcare industry as an Industrial Engineer. I could do this as a project manager or a process engineer. I would also consider going into something more aligned with sustainability. Ideally, I could merge these two desires and have a career in the healthcare field, making the hospitals more sustainable while also providing patients with quick and efficient care. I think the ACRI project could help me pursue these goals by helping me emphasize with many different people and help them with their input not just giving solutions without listening to what is wanted. I hope during this experience I can become part of something bigger. I joined this project because it is an ongoing project that will hopefully make a lasting impact on these communities. To know that I helped with that impact will be extremely rewarding. I hope during this experience I am able to increase my time management skills and grow my skills of working on a team. The team working on this project and even within our own capstone team is extremely inter-disciplinary. It is always helpful to hear from others with different points of view and different education backgrounds. I know everyone will be able to bring prior knowledge to the table and the project will be better because of that. I found through my trip to Iceland that while renewable energy is important, I do not think I want to focus on specific types and transforming fossil fuels to those. We had a lot of projects that were meant to have us evaluate a US state for its renewable potential. We then had to create a concrete plan along with policies on how to make that vision a reality. With getting to travel to a new place for this project, I am hoping to possibly build on that with my career. I would love to bring my skills and knowledge to make a difference world-wide not just in the US healthcare system. It would be amazing if I were able to come up with a process to allow healthcare to be accessible to everyone in the world. It is such a privilege in the United States to have multiple doctors in a 5 block radius. Hospitals are also a huge contributor to the amount of waste we generate. I just read an article that found that the waste in hospitals was reduced 30% simply by educating the staff on the proper way to dispose of various items. Once they were taught how to do it, real change happened. I think education is a key proponent of change. If you just go into a place and start telling them what to change without explaining what the issue is in the first place and how they can help, no one is going to be receptive. In Icelandic culture it was amazing how collaborative everything was. No one refused to do things because they “weren’t their job”. Everyone helped out each other and the country is extremely successful. I believe when people listen to others and are collaborative, amazing things can happen. I am very excited to get to meet those in the community.

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