May 31, 2017 | NextGen Leadership Series, GU Impacts Profile: Austin Hong
Interview by Ali Walton, Beeck Communications Analyst
Meet Austin Hong! Austin is a junior in the College, majoring in Environmental Biology and English, and he’s heading to El Nido Resorts in Palawan, Philippines.
What will you be doing in the Philippines, and what makes you excited about it?
I’m heading to El Nido Resorts in the Philippines, which contains many ecologically significant sources of biodiversity. As an environmental biologist who studies the wetlands here in America, I’m interested in the Philippines as a destination for science. Through the fellowship I’ll also be working on sustainable development, which is another topic I’m interested in and I hope to continue pursuing.
So, based on your past experiences, what does social impact mean to you?
In my experience, I’ve focused mainly on innovation to minimize our impact on the environment. I think the biggest problem of the 21st century will undeniably be climate change and anthropic effects on the environment. At Georgetown, I’ve been working on on-campus projects that help improve sustainability, such as the hydroponics garden and the composting initiative.
It sounds like you’re very interested in this field. How do you hope to grow this interest through GU Impacts?
I hope to gain international experience and real-world skills in sustainable development. I also hope to pick up some Tagalog/Filipino while I’m there.
You mentioned that you’re already a part of several on-campus initiatives. So why did you decide to apply to GU Impacts, and what do you think makes GU Impacts different from other service programs at Georgetown?
As an English/Environmental Biology double major I wasn’t able to study abroad. So GU Impacts is a way to go abroad while also gaining experience in my field.
I think GU Impacts is different because it’s not really service. Service implies giving, a one-way, one-off transfer of goods or time. Instead, GU Impacts is development, which is more about building. The work I’ll be doing this summer, for example, is building systems for a more sustainable future.
Fun question, what’s your favorite quote?
“The road to hell is paved with adverbs.” – Stephen King
And last question, what are you currently reading?
“Farm City: The education of an urban farmer” by Novella Carpenter