Namrata Kolla, a future Georgia Tech graduate and environmental sustainability trailblazer, is currently taking GT by storm. Take a look at our spotlight on this talented local student and her future plans to (literally) save the world.
2016 (expected graduation in spring)
What is your major?:
Double major in Earth and Atmospheric Sciences and Public Policy
What are you currently working on outside of class?:
I am working on several different projects through the Sustainability Committee at Georgia Tech’s Student Government Association. Through the co-chair position, I am organizing a case competition for the spring called Greenovation. I also manage Green Alliance, an organization of all the students, staff, and faculty doing work related to environmental sustainability. My committee also runs the Sustainability at Tech Facebook page and Silver Leaf, a certification program for student organizations that recycle.
Aside from the Sustainability Committee, I am a Peer Leader (or “RA”) for Georgia Tech Housing. I live in a building of 110 freshmen that are a part of the Grand Challenges Living Learning Community. I help my residents transition from high school to the college lifestyle and plan programs to develop their identity and feel more connected with our school’s traditions.
What past projects have you worked on?:
Greenovation (Co-Chair, Aug 2014-present) – This case competition will get Georgia Tech students involved with the sustainable renovations of their campus buildings. I am in charge of all logistics from confirming venue and creating the application to finding sponsors and forming the judging panel. HYPE SIDE NOTE- Greenovation is still looking for sponsors- if you’re interested email email@example.com for more info.
Green Alliance (Co-Chair, Jan 2014-present) – I organize meetings twice a semester for students, staff, and faculty doing work related to environmental sustainability to come together, collaborate on projects, and discuss the latest sustainability-based initiatives happening on campus.
RESPECT Act Policy Recommendation (Intern, May 2014-Jul 2014) – Researched the history of the RESPECT Act and spoke to stakeholders like Pandora and the National Association of Broadcasting on behalf of Congressman Sanford D. Bishop Jr. I wrote memos to keep the Member up-to-date so he could make fully informed decisions on the issue.
Sustainability Forum (Logistics Manager, Jan 2014-Mar 2014) – Arranged the Spring Forum (keynote speaker + panel) about responsible electronics manufacturing and e-waste.
LEAF (Program Coordinator, May 2013-August 2013) – Organized lodging, travel, and supply arrangements for 28+ Georgia interns and mentors to work in state parks all over the country. From The Nature Conservancy in Georgia‘s Atlanta headquarters, I also kept track of the groups’ expenses and planned the event logistics for their orientation, college tours, and post-trip award ceremony.
What are your best technical or creative skills?
I enjoy computing and know a little bit about the different languages, including Matlab and Python. My favorite one so far has been R, especially applying it to statistical analyses for social problems.
What’s next on your list to learn?
I want to learn how to computationally model “mega” earth processes like climate systems and ocean systems. I find it fascinating that huge processes like these can be broken down by isolating the thousands of contributing factors and quantifying them.
Why the interest in startups?
Startups and local governments are the future for innovation in environmental sustainability. As I delve further into public policy through my degree and explore the (limited) capabilities of the federal government, I am becoming increasingly convinced that state and local governments and medium to small businesses (startups!) are where the best ‘green’ ideas are going to come from. Our country has a history of bouncing between grassroots movements and government top-down approach in tackling environmental policy. I predict the pendulum is swinging back towards small groups and individuals in environments like startups to brainstorm solutions for the largest problems facing our world today, like overpopulation and climate change.
What’s your ideal internship?
Being a part of the design or launch of an eco-city like Songdo or Masdar City. I would love to say I interned for a company or government department that worked on some piece of the project, whether it was the design of the smart grids in a neighborhood or the business plan for incentivizing people to move into the area.
Post graduation plans?
I am going to graduate school. So far, Berkeley’s concurrent degree program between the Energy and Resource Group (ERG) and the Goldman School of Public Policy (GSPP) has sounded the most interesting in the way it integrates interdisciplinary knowledge of public policy with energy and resource issues.