“A modern day tree hugger” is how Rochelle Mesubed describes herself. For her, walking barefoot through lush grass and enjoying beautiful scenery makes for a perfect day. She simply loves nature and everything related to it. The only thing that could make it better would be finding a way to perfectly capture and maintain her utopia for generations to enjoy just as much as she does.
While she hasn’t quite figured out how to capture “lightning in a bottle” she has discovered how she can assist in maintaining the places she loves so much, particularly her native land of Palau.
Mesubed is extremely in tune with the environment and has focused her studies on natural resources, but building her community and helping to prepare her country for long-term sustainability is what’s most important.
“As a Pacific Islander, I think it is apparent that I am passionate about nature. And as a biological engineer, I want to take part in developing projects that focus on sustainability,” she said. “Climate change, for instance is a global issue that very much affects my island. As a biological engineer, we use living materials to engineer biological systems designed to both conserve nature as well as benefit society. The knowledge that I will obtain in this field will give me a better understanding of those systems and help find better ways to conserve our natural resources. “
“My goal is to assist my island in implementing sustainable systems to preserve our natural resources and supplies. I also want to help the community have a better understanding of sustainability and its relevance to society by creating programs designed to help them get involved.
Since her days at Dudley High School, and participating in a Shell Eco Marathon competition, Mesubed knew she wanted to be an engineer. The question was, what type of engineer. She knew what she liked, but wasn’t quite sure how to categorize it. If it wasn’t for the inviting and family-like atmosphere that Mesubed says she encountered when she “stumbled” into an engineering building while lost on campus she might never have even discovered her niche.
“I was running late on the application deadline and in the process of completing it I got lost on campus and randomly walked into a building where a lady met me at the door. She helped me narrow down my options,” she said.
Having only been in the United States for five years, finding a place and group of people in which she could connect was very important to Mesubed. She had to attend a university that met several requirements: enhance her knowledge in natural resources, understand her culture and background and invest in her overall development. The fact that she was separated from part of her family only further solidified the fact that she had to feel comfortable in a place where she would be spending the next few years of her life.
Introduced to a professor in the biological engineering department from the Philippines, her comfort level began to increase and she realized she was at the right place.
“Knowing people who understand your cultural background is a big deal when you’re on a foreign land. I saw how diverse and family-oriented the department was and that they were truly passionate in investing in their students and had a deep appreciation for people with different cultural backgrounds,” she said. “The curriculum is also designed for students to take a variety of classes that helps them become well-rounded, enhancing their skills in different areas.”
“I felt like I could not get that from anywhere else, so I chose A&T.”