When she first came to MIT, Khalea Robinson was set to become a builder of bridges and skyscrapers. "Their visibility and permanence appealed to me."
But a talk she attended on some of the world's pressing problems shook her commitment to this path. Access to clean water, and other issues, should surely count more than her own private engineering goals, she imagined.
But after taking introductory courses in environmental and civil engineering, she realized that she "couldn't simply fall in line wherever there was a call, because there are so many calls, all of them worthy."
Robinson felt that she should instead look for a field that would "bring forth my initiative, passion, drive, insight and courage," while also promoting justice and fairness. In a world "full of complex problems that need to be solved by many people," Robinson believes each of us "has a distinct voice that can and must be raised."
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