On November 1st, I arrived in New Haven, Connecticut, which is about 100 km north of New York City. I was excited to see the unmistakably Gothic architecture of the university, which was founded in 1701. New Haven is currently my home, where I am spending six months to conduct my Master’s Thesis in Environmental Sciences.
I felt nervous every single time I checked if the “Pending” status on the online registration platform had changed – until I finally got accepted to Yale University! So my journey to one of the US’ top Ivy League schools was about to begin.
Data for a sustainable future
Here at Yale, I am part of the Data-Driven Environmental Solutions Group, which works at the intersection of data sciences and environmental policy. The US government is shutting down its climate change mitigation efforts but cities, regions and companies are stepping up and pledging their support to the 2° C goal. The contribution of these sub-national and non-state actors are an important area of our research. In my thesis, I am identifying how companies use renewable energies to transform the energy system. But enough about research, let’s talk about life as a Yale student - a so-called “Yalie”.
Networking is key
Yale is basically a community of its own, which does not only have an independent transport system and health center but also its own police force! The majority of the undergraduate students live in colleges on campus, which is the center of student life. As a graduate student, I found a room in a lovely off-campus house, which I share with five other graduate students. Life at Yale is very much dominated by all kinds of extra-curricular activities. As a result, there are countless student-led conferences and talks. One of my favorite events was the Blockchain for Sustainable Solutions Summit, where we discussed the applications for blockchains in the energy system. Networking, knowledge-sharing and communication with high-level experts are definitely key opportunities at Yale, and it is therefore not a rare sight to find a Nobel Laureate showing up on Campus.
Since New Haven is part of the Greater New York Area, I have the opportunity to be a part of the ETH Studio NY and to represent ETH in the region. As part of this mission, I was invited to visit the German International School NY, a bilingual school supported by the Swiss government. The school management invited me to give a talk about climate change and my research project, which I happily accepted. I was super excited to share my knowledge about climate change, and I hope I encouraged some students to engage further with this important topic. And hey, it seems like one or two might even pursue a degree at ETH! I can highly recommend it.
by Michael Hegglin
Michael is a MSc. Student in Environmental Sciences and a member of the ETH Studio New York. Before going to Yale, Michael interned at the Swiss Consulate for Science, Technology and Innovation (swissnex) in NY and the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit in Frankfurt. Michael holds a BSc. from ETH and worked as a tutor for the lecture "Einführung in den Umgang mit Umweltsystemen".