Professional SpotlightSpotlight

When it comes to thinking outside the box, Kimberly Del Col is required to do so on a daily basis. As a Senior Staff Engineer at Langan Engineering & Environmental Services, Kimberly oversees and documents day-to-day activities on construction sites to make sure contractors are compliant with environmental regulations. Her days start early, but every day is different which keeps things exciting.

Majoring in Chemical Engineering and Sustainability from Villanova University, Kimberly knew early on that she wanted to study something that combined science and math. As a female in a very male dominated field, Kimberly is learning how to be more assertive. We can’t help but be inspired by her drive, passion, and determination to make a change. Read on to learn Kimberly’s advice for those interested in being an engineer, how we can take care care of the environment on a daily basis, and the resources that have professionally and personally inspired her.

Name: Kimberly Del Col
Education: Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering and Sustainability from Villanova University; Master of Science in Sustainable Engineering from Villanova University
Follow: @Kim_DelCol

Carpe Juvenis: How do you define “Seizing Your Youth?”

Kimberly Del Col: I envision youth as a resource we are given.  Like any resources (physical or other) we have the ability to use it to our advantage, to help us grow, or we can waste it. To me, seizing your youth is the ability to harness this resource for your better good and use it as a foundation to help you grow and meet whatever goals you’re trying to achieve.

CJ: You majored in Chemical Engineering and Sustainability from Villanova University. How did you determine what to study?

KDC: I’ve always had an interest in science and math, so I knew when I went to college I wanted to major in something that incorporated both. Engineering seemed like the right balance of the two. At Villanova University, the first engineering class you take helps you explore the various disciplines of engineering through lectures and labs on each disciple. When it came to the Chemical Engineering portion of the class I found the concept and theories discussed made sense, everything clicked.

As I progressed in the Chemical Engineering degree I had the option to take classes that incorporated some of the foundation classes of the degree (such as mass transfer and reactor engineering) and applied it to environmental scenarios. That is when I decided to pursue a concentration in sustainability.

CJ: After college you decided to earn your Master of Science in Sustainable Engineering from Villanova University. What led to your decision to go to graduate school?

KDC: I’ve always had an interest in sustainability, climate change and environmental health, but it wasn’t until I was a senior at Villanova that the Sustainable Engineering program was formed.  Once I began working, I became more involved with local sustainability initiatives and educating myself on what it means to live sustainably. I decided to go back to school part-time about a year after I finished my undergraduate degree so that I could incorporate the knowledge I attained from class into work (and vice-versa). Also I was able to use what I learned in class to drive new initiatives at work and my personal endeavors, that’s how you create change.

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CJ: You worked as a Staff Engineer at H2M architects + engineers, a consulting and design firm. What did your duties entail and what takeaways did you learn from that experience?

KDC: At H2M I worked as part of their water resource group.  The group’s responsibilities were primarily designing and overseeing the implementation of drinking water (groundwater) treatment, distribution and storage systems. I also worked on groundwater models that would predict groundwater impacts (contamination) down the road. These models helped us better understand the challenges these water districts may face and help us better design treatment systems so that the water can be clean and safe to drink. I learned so much at H2M; the biggest take away was learning to effectively communicate with my team. It easy to think engineering is just about numbers but if you can’t communicate that idea to someone effectively, you’re project can’t succeed.

CJ: You are now a Senior Staff Engineer at Langan Engineering & Environmental Services. What does that mean and what does your role entail?

KDC: At Langan, my responsibilities are a bit more hands on. As environmental field staff, I’m responsible to oversee and document day-to-day activities on construction sites, as due diligence for our clients and making sure contractors are compliant with environmental regulations. Upon completion, we compile all of the information from the project and provide a report explaining how the requirements were met. We also are responsible for the planning and execution of sampling events to meet certain environmental requirements. Once the event is completed we compile the results and provide alternatives for moving forward with remediating the site.

CJ: Every day in your life must be different depending on your projects and the time of year, but what does a Monday look like for you?

KDC: Every day is different! On typical day in the office I’ll be working on various reports explaining the findings of previous investigations, compiling information for final reports on construction jobs I’ve overseen or doing historical research of new sites to determine if there are any notable causes for environmental impacts. If I’m in the field the day usually starts around 6:30 AM where I’ll be on-site receiving any equipment I may need for the day’s work.

Field work varies from overseeing construction and making sure the contractor is being compliant with not only our specifications, but regulations set forth by various environmental policy makers (ie: New York City Office of Remediation (NYCOER), New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) etc.) to completing the physical investigation of a site. This includes the sampling of soil, groundwater and soil vapor and conducting a visual inspection of the site to look for any indication of environmental impacts.

CJ: What are the three most important skills you need as an engineer?

KDC: Adaptability, ability to communicate (written & speaking), and critical thinking.

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CJ: What advice would you give to a young person who is interested in being an engineer?

KDC: Engineering is a challenging profession, so be prepared to think outside the box and take things day by day.

CJ: Sustainable building and planning, water and soil remediation technologies, and sustainable farming are interests of yours. What makes you so passionate about these topics? How do you think people can be better about taking care of the environment in their everyday lives?

KDC: Often times people think of ‘sustainability’ as an environmental concept when really it is so closely connected to social and economic impacts (commonly referred to as the ‘triple bottom line’). There are technologies that have been developed to create more resilient infrastructure that can handle some of the recent climate events we’re seeing (ie: hurricanes, droughts, floods etc) so people aren’t left homeless, farming techniques that not only preserve soil integrity but help crops survive floods or drought, and materials that use fossil fuels to produce and are less harmful to produce for factory workers. I think once people start to look at sustainability in this light it takes on a more personal meaning. On a day to day level things like turning off lights, choosing post-recycled or sustainably sourced products all contribute to a greener society. Being educated is your greatest resource. Read labels and ask questions. The more you know, the better decisions you can make.

CJ: What are your time management tips? How do you stay organized and efficient?

KDC: It is critical to be organized and efficient, especially in the field. Before any field investigation I put together a binder of all of the information I need – contact information, site plans, previous investigation reports, sample tables etc. – so that when I’m on site I have all of the information I could need readily available. In the office I have a list of critical items that need to be completed, their deadlines and if there’s any outstanding information I need to complete them.  Once a day I go through the list, make and updates and if there’s something I need to address I make sure to do it and note the action. With the constant flux of information on various projects coming across my desk, it’s easy to forget something if it isn’t right in front of you.

CJ: What is an area, either personal or professional, that you are working to improve in and how?

KDC: It’s easy to be intimidated as a female in a very male dominated field so I’m constantly working on my ability to be assertive. It’s easy to back down and try to compromise when someone is arguing with me but if I compromise my work then I compromise my integrity, which is not that standard I hold myself to.

CJ: What are some books, resources, and websites that have influenced you – either personally or professionally (or both)?

KDC: Engineers without Borders and Society of Women Engineers are two groups that I’ve found a lot of inspiration. Both societies offer resources for both learning and networking that have been instrumental in molding my interest in sustainable engineering and its social implications. Also, many of Michael Pollan’s books, which focus on the sustainability of the food chain, have helped me foster my interest in sustainable farming and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

CJ: What is your favorite book?

KDC: And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie.

CJ: If you could have coffee with anyone – dead or alive – who would it be?

KDC: Emily Warren Roebling. Roebling had a huge hand in the completion of the Brooklyn Bridge, even became the chief engineer of the project when her husband fell ill.  For a woman to have such an esteemed role in such a monumental project during a time when women did not really have a presence in the field is awe inspiring.

CJ: What advice would you give your 20-year-old self?

KDC: Never apologize for being ambitious or driven. I used to always start sentences saying, ‘I’m sorry/ I’m sorry but…’ when I had nothing to be sorry about. Once you stop apologizing and start being confident in your ideas and concepts, people will notice (and respect) you.

Kim Del Col Qs

Images by Carpe Juvenis

SpotlightYouth Spotlight

Nick Rubin is one seriously impressive 17-year-old. We met up with Nick for coffee in Seattle and discussed the many amazing projects he’s working on, including the app Greenhouse (which he built himself), a youth-run organization connector called YouthCorp, and his college applications.

As a high school student, Nick has loads of homework and the typical stress that comes with being near the end of your high school career. But Nick is approaching his time in high school differently by making the most of his time outside of class. He partakes in extracurriculars, spends time pursuing hobbies such as graphic design and photography, and makes time for himself by going on hikes and bike rides.

Nick undoubtedly seizes his youth. Read on to learn about how Nick learned to code, the inspiration behind his projects, and the top tips he would give someone who is just about to enter high school.

Name: Nicholas Rubin
Education: Lakeside School
Follow:
nicholasrub.in / @nickrubin / Greenhouse / Instagram

Carpe Juvenis: How do you define “Seizing Your Youth”?

Nicholas Rubin: I define “Seizing Your Youth” as taking advantage of the many opportunities that being young offers. For example, free time. We tend to have more free time than adults, which gives us time to focus on our passions and interests. Many people say that kids can’t make change, but I think that the opposite is true. I think it’s easier for kids to make a change – not only are we able to focus on what we’re interested in, but there’s something about youth that’s special.

CJ: You are the creator of Greenhouse, a free browser extension for Chrome Firefox, and Safari that exposes the role money plays in Congress. What inspired you to create Greenhouse?

NR: Ever since giving a presentation in a 7th grade social studies class, I’ve been really interested in the issue of money-in-politics. It’s not usually something kids care about, but even though I’m 17 and can’t vote for another year, I wanted to change that. I thought that the information about sources of funding of members of Congress wasn’t being made accessible to people, to the average citizen. It’s being buried away. The Federal Elections Commission (FEC) is the agency that’s in charge of making this information accessible to the public, but they aren’t doing a good job. It’s tucked away, and since most people don’t know where or how to find it, I wanted to put it where it’s more useful – on the web pages where people read about the actions of members of Congress every day.

CJ: How did you go about actually building Greenhouse?

NR: When I first came up with the idea, I didn’t really know how to code. I taught myself using a series of online resources, and this year I’m taking a formal computer science class in school. There are so many great instructional websites these days – Kahn Academy, Codecademy, and my favorite, Treehouse – which are all geared toward youth, so it’s easy to understand for a beginner.

I spent about 10 months and 400 hours working on Greenhouse. For the data itself, I’m collecting it from an organization called the Center for Responsive Politics, which takes the FEC data and makes it available to developers.

CJ: What cause or issue do you care greatly about and why?

NR: I’ve been working on one other important project since this summer. In August, I went to the Yale Young Global Scholars Program, and met 200 other kids from all over the world who all shared a passion for change and global affairs. Four of us recognized this, and we started something called YouthCorp. It’s an organization that connects youth-run nonprofits, projects, initiatives, and companies and combines their resources to fight a common issue.

We’re still figuring out the details, but in the first two months we’ve had around 20 youth-run organizations join us from all over the world. It’s great, and is something that I’ll definitely continue working on.

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CJ: You are also a photographer. What sparked your interest in photography and what camera do you use?

NR: I don’t really remember exactly when I started photography, but it’s been a long time. Back in middle school I went to a camp in the San Juans that had film photography as an activity. I learned how to use a manual camera, develop film, and more. Ever since then, I’ve loved it. I got my first point-and-shoot in 6th grade, eventually graduating to a film camera, and then a DSLR. Now I’m in my third year of photography at school, where I do both film and digital photography. My favorite type would probably be travel photography and portraits. They’re both fun to take.

CJ: You have done quite a bit of design work. Where do you draw inspiration and what tools do you use for your design work?

NR: I’ve been interested in design since a 7th grade art class, when we did some linoleum printing. I wasn’t much of an art student, but I really enjoyed carving out and printing shapes. I like simple, minimalist design, and use Photography and Illustrator to do most of my work.

CJ: You were a Top-10 finalist at MHacks IV for Quink, a free browser extension for Chrome and Safari that lets you read the news faster without leaving the page you’re on. What was that experience like and what advice do you have for pitching and making it all the way to the Top 10?

NR: It was an amazing experience. A 36-hour programming competition with almost no sleep may sound miserable, but it was actually tons of fun. Hard, but a great experience. The community tends to be more about learning, rather than competition, so it creates a great environment. Some hackathons have cash prizes, but many of these events are turning away from that and discouraging people from only going with the prizes in mind. Most people go for the experience, and that’s really what makes these events special.

My advice for kids interested in these events is that you don’t have to be an amazing coder, or even know how to code at all. Many attend as designers or simply attend workshops and learn as they go on.

CJ: How do you stay organized, and what are your time management tips?

NR: Truthfully, I’m not the best with organization and time management, but there’s an app called Things that has basically saved my life. It’s a to-do list, where you simply check things off when you’re done. I could probably work to be a bit more organized, and use things like calendars, but something simple like Things is enough for me. I don’t like being too structured.

CJ: Every day in your life must be different depending on school, work, and the time of year, but what does a Monday look like for you?

NR: On a typical Monday, I wake up at 7AM, drive my sisters to school, and go to my classes. After school, I continue to dedicate a quite a bit of time to Greenhouse, even though the attention surrounding it has died down a bit. I’ll spend an hour or two every day working on updates or responding to emails. Other than that, and my homework, I like to play tennis and go on hikes and bike rides.

CJ: What three tips would you give someone entering high school?

NR:
1. Try to make free time for yourself. School may be tough with homework, but it’s possible to have free time if you manage it properly. That’s what makes youth special, having time to do what you want. Making that time is important.

2. Don’t worry too much. That’s something I struggled with for the past few years. I’ve toned it down now, but don’t spend a lot of time stressing about school and your social life.

3. Do what you’re interested in, both in school and out. Pick classes and extracurriculars that interest you. For example, computer science is an elective course that I’m taking. Use your school’s resources to further your interests.

CJ: The college application process is ahead. What are you doing now to prepare for that?

NR: The process is just starting for me – I was actually assigned my college counselor yesterday. I’m probably planning on going on a school tour during spring break. I haven’t given the process much thought, but one thing that I’ve heard from people is to definitely start early. I may procrastinate with school assignments, but with something as big as college essays and applications, I’m going to be sure to start as early as possible.

CJ: What is one of your favorite books?

NR: Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell.

CJ: What is a book you read in school that positively shaped you?

NR: Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger.

CJ: What is an area, either personal or professional, that you are working to improve in and how?

NR: Communication and reaching out to people. There are definitely a lot of people who could be useful to me and the projects that I’m working on, and reaching out to some of them would be really beneficial. When I need help, I tend to refrain from asking others, but I definitely want to change this.

CJ: Having a loaded schedule can sometimes be overwhelming. What do you do when you’re having a bad day and need to unwind or reset?

NR: Whenever I’m having a bad day, I try and find something to get my mind off of it. I like to play with my dog, or go on a hike or bike ride. Leaving things behind and not letting them get to me is important. Being in nature and spending time away from society really helps, and it puts me in a good state of mind.

CJ: What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

NR: My parents and grandparents always told me before tests, “Good skills” instead of “Good luck.”

CJ: What advice would you give your 14-year-old self?

NR: Don’t worry as much! I worried about everything, and it would take up a lot of my time. I would spend more time worrying about an experience than actually enjoying it. This definitely could have changed earlier on.

Nick Rubin Qs

Image: Carpe Juvenis

LearnSkills

Procrastination is that bittersweet friend of yours who dumps you when you need him or her the most. It is not the act of procrastinating per se that is most troubling. Delaying assignments by using Snapchat or watching cat videos is quite enjoyable. It is what happens ‘after’ that leaves us at our wits’ end. It leaves us with more worries, more stress, and more workload. Can this be contained? Yes, of course. Here are a few effective tactics you may use to do so.

1. Break the Bulk

Overwhelming work is a driving force for procrastination. Hence it would be in your best interest to break the workload into smaller components. For example, if you have a large project that needs to be completed, divide your work into sub sections such as Introduction, Topic 1, Topic 2, etc. This way it will be easier to digest how much work you have and you will be far more motivated to complete your tasks.

2. Set Artificial Deadlines

Deadlines help us keep pace. Our working senses get activated when we have a near deadline looming over our heads. Making your own deadlines before the actual deadline is a good way to get you on your feet. But they would be void without incentive. Make a penalty for not following deadlines and reward yourself for completing tasks on time. Make sure to not reward yourself too heavily, for you will get carried away and miss your next deadline.

3. Alternate Your Tasks

Boredom is procrastination’s best source of fuel. Don’t stick to one task as it will soon become tedious and the distractions around you will suddenly become more inviting. Alternating your tasks will keep you focused. I mix dull tasks with enjoyable ones to complete my work faster and more efficiently.

4. Stay in a Conducive Environment

Make sure you’re in an environment that is conducive to completing work. This entails doing work free of distractions. In my own experience, I switch off the Internet modem whenever I have homework to avoid WiFi-related distractions. Having friends who are motivated and supportive also helps. They will push you back on the right track when you feel like quitting. Tell your friends about all of your goals so that you become more accountable to fulfilling them.

How do you tackle procrastination?

Image: Jan Vašek

Professional SpotlightSpotlight

Erik Fabian has always enjoyed performing. As an artist working in performance, installation, and conceptual art, Erik is interested in the interaction between people and how “space and circumstances around that interaction shape your experience.” Erik is a graduate of the Master of FIne Arts program at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and his experience at grad school greatly changed his work.

While working as an artist, Erik is also the Director of Brand & PR at Moleskine America. Erik tells stories about the Moleskine brand’s values while also inspiring people to create more. We’re definitely inspired – as huge fans of putting pen to paper, we are guilty of carrying our Moleskine notebooks around with us everywhere we go to note down ideas and to-dos.

Though busy, Erik has great tips for managing his time. How does he do it exactly? By identifying two or three big goals for the day, as well as smaller tasks to accomplish. Keep reading to learn more about Erik’s successful career, his creative process, and the simple yet effect things he does when he needs to unwind or reset.

Name: Erik Fabian
Age: 38
Education:
The Evergreen State College and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago
Follow: @ErikFabianInstagram / ErikAndTheAnimals.com

Carpe Juvenis: How do you define “Seizing Your Youth?”

Erik Fabian: Take responsibility for your own happiness, impact, growth, and future. The sooner you take responsibility for yourself the more you can enjoy your youth and make choices that will help you enjoy your adulthood. I would define “responsibility” as being able to explain your choices and being willing to stand behind your actions whatever the outcome.

CJ: You are an artist working in performance, installation, and conceptual art. What sparked your interest in art, and why specifically performance art and installation?

EF: I have always enjoyed performing. I think of it as this very big, philosophical playground and lab. It is a kind of play that gets lost as you get older. During a performance rules of interaction can be rewritten and questions about the world can be explored. I also like that performance can be so physical.

I became particularly interested in how people interact and how the space and circumstances around that interaction shape your experience. That led me to create more installations and events. I currently express this interest mostly through my role at Moleskine in creating events and partnerships with artists/cultural organizations.

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CJ: You are a graduate of the Master of Fine Arts program at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC). What was that experience like and how did you determine where to study?

EF: At the time I wanted to explore performance in a broad sense…that included both the history of theater and the history of visual arts. That choice narrowed my options. You can do more tradition theater work in several places or be the conceptual/performance person in a more visual arts focused program but a mix is rare. When I met the faculty at SAIC I felt it was a pretty good fit and it was a well-regarded school and I was fortunate to get accepted.

I loved being a grad student and having the time and resources to think alongside very talented people. I enjoyed getting a stronger sense of visual art history and how visual artists work. It also gave me a vocabulary to talk about my work and other people’s work. The experience did change my work a great deal. For one thing, I wanting to experience how to make solo work after working collaboratively for a long time and had time to do that. The funny thing is that most visual artists I met had worked solo for so long and were looking for collaboration.

In the end your network is a key professional asset you take from any graduate school experience. I unfortunately didn’t want to live in Chicago permanently and left much of that network behind after the program. If you can, go to school where you want to live.

CJ: Your work explores notions of value and how we value art and the experience of performance. How do you come up with ideas and topics for your work, and what is your creative process?

EF: If I am working alone, I just follow my interests. My interests are usually are obvious based on the kind of reading and media I am consuming. I read a lot. I consume a lot of media. When working with others, it starts with conversations about interests and using formal idea development sessions. I am the kind of person who has way more ideas than time and resources to execute them.

To develop an idea into something for sharing, I set some kind of restraints around a project based on my interests, current resources and go from there. The process helps refine/reduce all my ideas and to fill in the blanks where needed. My process is a combo of doing structured, practical things and just noodling on ideas. For instance on the practical side, I start with making a calendar and working backwards, setting goals that lead to the result I want. On the looser side, I tend to draw lots of simple representation of ideas for aspects of the work.

Often I find I have clear ideas about the space and sequence of events first. I also tend to summarize the project as a kind of poster at some point. Getting on your feet and doing things rather than talking is a powerful way to move things forward when making a performance. When doing other kinds of projects, rapid-prototyping is the same kind of idea with a similar contribution to the process.

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CJ: What advice would you give to a young person who wants to be an artist and creatively branch out on their own?

EF: First on the creative side, don’t ever be shy about pursuing your creative life. Everyone has a creative spark – nurture it, practice daily if you can, find what thrills you, hang out with other creative people, consume art that excites you, and enjoy yourself. With that said, I think your question is asking more how to become an “artist” as in not someone who doesn’t just makes stuff but has an audience and ultimately might be a professional.

I say don’t become an “artist.” There are too many vague “artists” in the world and the opportunities to express yourself isn’t limited to just traditional mediums like painting or poetry. You need to become something much more specific and powerful than an “artist.” “Artists” rarely have a sufficient audience to sustain a professional career. I know a ton of talented people who are doing odd jobs so they can paint or whatever and maybe get a lucky break. I have heard that most MFA graduates stop making work in six or seven years after graduation which I find sad and it should scare you. Find a niche where your interests, talents, refined craft, and the story you tell about yourself makes you very different than everyone else.

Andy Warhol isn’t an artist – he is a clever guy who took the notion of the commodification of visual goods and made his life into a metaphor for the industrial system. In doing so he created a ton of work that was easy to sell and still sells while also hanging out with kooky folks and living a life where he got to express ideas to an audience who cares.

You can write a similar blurb about any successful “artist” as well as people who express via entrepreneurship, social work, politics, or whatever. What is the blurb you want people to write about you? Write it without using the word “artist.”

On your way to living your blurb here are a couple other things I have noticed. Take your creative impulses and refine them into a craft – people with good technical skills in any traditional medium always have it easier. Identify a creative process that helps you consistently produce work – people who create a lot of work have it easier. Learn to talk about your work with non-“artists” – people will constantly ask you what you do and need a concrete response and these folks are your potential audience. Think about your work as a business and learn how the business of your relevant art market works – the people who are good at business and marketing have longer and bigger careers. Get really good, be really interesting, get good advice, handle your personal finances responsibly, and don’t let the pursuit of this professional stuff squash your creative self.

CJ: You are also the Director of Brand & PR at Moleskine America. What drew you to Moleskine and what does your job entail?

EF: I basically tell stories about the values that underlie the Moleskine brand. These values are the bedrock that supports the kinds of objects and experiences Moleskine designs and shares in the world. I also have a mandate to expand and protect the brand both as it is understood both among Moleskine America staff and in the public. If you take the time to look at Moleskine.com for instance you will see that the company has a ton of stuff going on. I help spread the word about these activities to our fans and try to inspire folks to create more.

I was attracted to the values of Moleskine and liked the design of the notebooks. The role they offered fit my experience as someone who has a background in the arts and expertise in creating events.

CJ: What has been one of the most unexpectedly interesting parts of your career to date?

EF: I have sat in a privileged seat as the head of the brand at Moleskine America. Moleskine is one of the most passionately loved brands in the world and I am constantly impressed by the creative outpouring Moleskine fans put into their notebooks. I have certainly learned a great deal about building a successful brand and how the power of arts/culture contributes to building a brand like Moleskine.

CJ: Every day in your life must be different depending on your projects and the time of year, but what does a Monday look like for you?

EF: There are different periods that focus on planning, budgeting, and execution of projects over the year. Most days I start by setting my to-dos and reviewing my calendar. I then jump into emails unless I have a pressing document to write. My days are dotted with meetings both with staff and external folks. Most of the work at an organization of any size is focused on alignment and focusing of everyone’s effort.

CJ: What are your time management tips? How do you stay organized and efficient?

EF: I identify two or three big goals for the day and maybe two to four small tasks I want to get done. This helps me focus. I try to keep my unread email basically at zero. I keep a digital calendar up to date for meetings and create dedicated project calendars for anything important. I take notes in a Moleskine notebook of course and find being able to write/draw ideas and notes helps me be efficient because it roots the information in my brain more powerfully than typing.

CJ: What is an area, either personal or professional, that you are working to improve in and how?

EF: Finding time to be as physically active is always a challenge. I am always experimenting with how to be efficient at getting some movement into my week.

CJ: Having a loaded schedule can sometimes be overwhelming. What do you do when you’re having a bad day and need to unwind or reset?

EF: Walking when the weather is warm is great. I like to get out of the city and camp when I have time. I like to cook and go to restaurants. I also read a lot and consume a lot of media. I have been a long time meditator and have found a rigorous seated practice hard to maintain in NYC, but I takes aspects of that practice that I apply throughout my day.

CJ: What advice would you give your 20-year-old self?

EF: Don’t wait for anyone else to take action. Go forward and people who are interested in your path will show up alongside you.

Erik Fabian Qs

Image: Erik Fabian, Emilie Baltz, Rachel Scroggins

SpotlightYouth Spotlight

She’s the Director of Marketing for Minyawns, a fashion blogger, a visual stylist intern at Nordstrom, and a Carpe Juvenis contributor. Is there anything this girl can’t do?! Whitney Cain has impressed us since Day 1. She is currently student at the University of Washington while also being heavily involved in outside activities and businesses. She’s fun to be around, smart, and has loads of energy. Her love of fashion and photography is apparent in her blog, and she dresses to impress (no wonder Nordstrom snatched her up!). At just 20 years old, Whitney definitely knows how to seize her youth, and we can all learn a thing or two from her. Continue reading to learn more about this awesome go-getter…

Name: Whitney Cain
Age: 20
Education: B.A. in Marketing from the University of Washington, Minoring in Earth and Space Sciences (just for kicks)
Follow: Whits About Her

How do you define ‘seizing your youth’?

I define seizing my youth as taking advantage of all opportunities presented and in the process, learning more about myself through the exploration of personal interests. In your youth, I think it is imperative to try everything and just go places because there will be no other time in our lives when we will be handed the freedom of youth and gifted the lack of responsibility.

You are majoring in Marketing at the University of Washington. What does this major involve and how did you determine what to study?

This major involves studying all the different forms of business (such as accounting, finance, management) while focusing primarily on the study of marketing. It is extremely difficult to be admitted into the Foster School of Business and I consider my admittance one of the proudest moments of my life. In addition to majoring in Business Marketing, I am also pursuing a minor in Earth and Space Sciences, just for kicks. I have also been interested in science and specifically geomorphology, so I thought what better chance to explore that interest while also getting to go on various field trips across our beautiful state. In one of my classes we actually drove out to Leavenworth, Washington and drove up this hill overlooking the city. It had one of the most beautiful views and is now one of my favorite spots to go if I ever find myself out East.

You have had multiple marketing and social media internships. What experiences have been your favorite, and what were the biggest takeaways from those experiences?

I have! It is really difficult at our young age to really know what we are interested in most or what we actually excel at. With this in mind, I thought I’d try a smattering of different internships to better figure out what I am actually intrigued by and what actually interests me. That’s the whole point of internships! My favorite has probably been my last internship with a social media marketing firm.

As ironic as this may sound, I personally dislike all forms of social media but for whatever reason, am really good at doing the social media for companies. To make it even more confusing, I like it. Not a clue why! This just goes to show that although I would’ve initially thought I wouldn’t be suited for social media marketing, it looks like I am. So try things people! For crying out loud I worked in the regulatory department of a chemical distributor for six months. I have ample reporting abilities and a ridiculous amount of acronyms to show for it!

You were the Vice President of Alumni Relations and Sponsorship at UW’s American Marketing Association. What have you learned from your experience with AMA?

The AMA has been one of the best organizations I have ever been part of. I feel like I say this a lot, and about a lot of things, but if you were to ask me if I thought joining a club was a good idea a couple of years ago, I would’ve said no. But then again, I didn’t really know what I was doing or what I wanted to do a couple of years ago. I joined the AMA this year thinking that it would be a great opportunity to network and meet a lot of professionals who could hopefully hook me up with a sweet job. I got that, and a whole lot more.

Being part of this club has opened an unbelievable amount of doors for me and really polished my professional persona. Not to mention holding a VP title as a student says a lot about your work ethic and get’s the conversation going. Being a VP has brought me internships, professional contacts, close friends, and even hooked me up with a start-up that wanted to hire me on as their director of marketing. Boom. Being a member of a club or organization in college gives you credibility that you can’t get anywhere else. If I were to recommend anything to anyone wanting to go into business, I’d tell them to join a club and to have fun with it. Big things can happen.

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You recently started a fashion blog called Whits About Her. Where does your love of fashion come from?

It’s funny but I don’t really know! I’ve always just been fascinated with fashion and everything to do with beauty and as a youngster I was constantly getting into my Mom’s makeup stash that I actually ruined half of it experimenting but that’s another story.. I started asking for magazines and fashion books for Christmas and started building up an encyclopedia of designers and fashion houses. From there I’ve just kept learning and reading and blog following! I was told repeatedly that I should start a fashion blog and I kinda thought, hey why not! I am a photographer on the side so I’ve acquired an eye for the kind of thing. It’s a great little hobby and a great excuse to go shopping (not that I’m condoning excessive spending, but, kinda).

You are the Director of Marketing for Minyawns. What is Minyawns and what responsibilities do you have as the Director of Marketing?

Well hey! This is that start-up I was talking about! Minyawns is an easy to use on-demand website for students to find work or help fast. It was created by a friend of mine, and UW engineering grad, Billy Sheng in August 2013. What originally started as an e-mail list has now blossomed into a full-blown business with over 215 companies and 500 Minyawns! As Director of Marketing, my responsibilities are building out both the business side and Minyawns directory (aka students). I’ve already revamped all social media outlets and manage all online communications!

The next step is to build out the PR end and create a marketing plan that can be replicated on other campuses as we expand. Being part of a start up has been a serious crash course in extreme time management and responsibility for me. I set my own hours, determine my own course of action, and set all goals for myself. It’s been a great experience and I’m still learning. It’s really cool to be tied to something that is gaining some serious traction, with some thanks to the work I’m putting in. I’m actually flying out to Fresno, where Minyawns is headquartered to set more long term goals! I’m going on a work trip… How weird does that sound for a 20 year old? At least I look 23 (I’m told).

This summer you are going to be a Visual Stylist for Nordstrom. How did you go about securing the internship, and what will it involve?

The world may never know! From my assessment, it was most likely a number of things and I will rate them in order of my perceived impact. Most importantly, I have done some visual merchandising work when I was at The Land of Nod so I was able to talk to the fact that I had been given and trusted with that sort of responsibility. A close runner up is the fact that I run a fashion blog, Whit’s About Her. If you’re a slave to your craft, you are willing to go the extra mile. I went that mile, and 34 feet.

Thirdly, a close work acquaintance, and personal mentor (whether she knows it or not), works at Nordstrom corporate and she sent over this incredible recommendation letter to the hiring manager. It really does pay to know people. You can totally quote me on that. As a creative human, I also tricked out my resume in Photoshop and dressed impeccably. Dress for your dream job. You can quote me on that too.  My internship will involve styling and designing all of the visual merchandising for the downtown Seattle Nordstrom. Its gunna be pretty sweet, I’m not gunna lie.

What are three traits that make a rockstar intern?

Resilience, energy, eccentricity. I’ll speak to that last one. I’m more of an introvert, but have found that when I pair my energy with a dash of my peculiar personality, I am memorable, mentionable, and typically liked (I mean this is the professional world, of course). If you’re willing to put yourself out there and be assertive as an intern, it shows management that you want and are excited to do more.

How do you balance being a college student with all of your jobs and activities? What are your time management tips?

Writing things down. I always have a lot going on in this head of mine so it is really easy to forget things. I’ve started journaling, list making and planning like a crazy person in order to keep track of everything. I am a purveyor of sticky notes and notebooks!

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What does a day in your life look like? How do you plan out your days?

I literally live the busiest life. I do a lot and I like to have a lot of fun. A typical day looks like class, emails, class, social planning for Minyawns, class, meetings, meetings, studying, go out. It’s mildly chaotic but I wouldn’t have it any other way!

When you are not interning, working, or going to school, how else do you like to enjoy your time?

I’m a runner. I enjoy nothing more than getting out and exploring the many trails and scenic routes Seattle has to offer. I’ve also recently gotten into hot yoga! I used to think yoga was for shmucks but I’m totally shmucking it now.

What would be your go-to summer internship outfit for when it’s burning up outside but air conditioned inside the office?

I am currently obsessed with (and stocking up on) track pants. Although the typical 9-5 uniform is constraining, tight, and highly uncomfortable, I beg to differ. Screw that. If I cant do activities in it, I’m not gunna wear it!  I recently just got a pair of silk track pants that feel incredible and also look incredible, the ideal combo. Pair them with flashy flats or heels if you’re feeling ambitious and a simple t-shirt. Easy, classy, and modern. Boom.

What motivates you?

It is often said those who have overcome adverse situations at a younger age are unbelievably motivated and successful in their latter years. I can totally attest to that. The recession was incredibly detrimental to my family and  as a result, we found ourselves homeless. Overcoming the financial obstacles has taught me many things but most importantly, the importance of higher education. My parents, neither of which attended college, vehemently urged me to pursue college as a way to secure a comfortable future for myself.

I knew that getting into college with a substantial scholarship would require substantial motivation and effort. Hard work really does pays off and I got into UW with 75% of my tuition covered. I am always looking for ways to improve myself as a person and have found that surrounding myself with remarkable individuals is one of the best ways to do so. One of my closest friends is one of the smartest people I know: pursuing a double major, being heavily recruited by the big four, and a former national spelling bee champ. She is also extremely sarcastic, caring, and straight up gorgeous. She’s remarkable and motivates me to every day.

For me motivation is entirely intrinsic and I am motivated every day to do whatever I can to improve the lives of others for this reason.

What advice would you give your 15-year-old self?

Care less about what others think. It’s taking me till just recently to realize that at the end of the day, the thoughts of others should not take precedence over my own. I wish I would’ve let my freak flag fly from day one! I’ve come to realize that when you start to think of your self as more of an individual, your eyes are opened to the world! I used be really skilled at origami but never told a soul for fear it would be considered dorky. What the heck Whit?! Who cares! Take a page from my book and fold away my friends, fold away.

Read Whitney’s work here.