Get to know the Scholarship Awardee (Part 2): Corina Rasmussen
Corina recently graduated from the Environmental Science, Engineering and Technology pathway (ESET) at Los Angeles Unified School District’s Carson High School. This past summer, she interned at Ports America through International Trade Education Programs (ITEP)’s internship program. She is attending El Camino College in the fall.
Linked Learning Alliance: Reading through your application, it seems like you have a huge passion for the environment. Where did that come from?
Corina Rasmussen: I grew up with a dad who always took us camping in the summer. I remember it was a tradition every Sunday to go hiking just up in [Palos Verdes]. So, I always had a love for nature.
Was that the reason you chose to attend Carson High School and its Environmental Science, Engineering and Technology (ESET) pathway?
It wasn’t actually my choice at the time. My parents were working to get a permit for me to go to Torrance High School because that’s where my two older siblings went. At the middle school I went to, you just automatically had to fill out [an application] for Carson High because we live in that area. So when I didn’t get the permit, I just went to ESET at Carson.
So it all worked out!
I honestly think it’s the best experience possible for me just because compared to my siblings’ high school experience, I received so many more opportunities, especially through Linked Learning. I got internships. You guys gave me workshops. Mrs. [Tammy] Bird, the head of ESET at Carson, took us to a Women in STEM event, and she took us [on a field trip] to Wyoming. She’s just given me so much.
Would you say you got a lot more out of your high school than your siblings did at Torrance?
Definitely. They weren’t really involved in anything extracurricular [other than sports]. My brother was on the baseball team and the track team, and my sister was on the swim team for a couple of years.
My friend also goes to Torrance right now and when I tell her about what I’ve done at Carson, she tells me how they don’t offer those things there. How Carson has the car show, how we have the garbology program, how we have mock interviews, and all the lessons and workshop that ESET gives us. I don’t think Torrance has that. I remember taking her to a [school] garden clean up and she was just amazed by our garden. She couldn’t believe how big it was and how we had so many animals.
In your essay you wrote quite a bit about your experience with Garbology. Can you talk more about it?
Garbology is a program within a club at school: the Go Green Club. We have a set of teams that go out during lunch and they sort the compost, the recycling, the waste, and liquid just to keep things less messy. Our recycling goes to our partners, Republic Services, but our compost actually goes to our garden, which is a certified wildlife habitat. And we have these giant compost bins and the animals just eat [the food waste] up. We call them our little composting machine.
Wow! That’s amazing. You mentioned the Women in STEM event – can you tell us more about your experience?
It was an event I attended my eleventh-grade year. Basically I got to speak to a lot of powerful women in these STEM fields. It was really encouraging to know that there’s other women stepping up. You just feel empowered talking to these women and it makes you believe in yourself more.
Obviously for someone like you who’s really interested in environmental science, ESET must have been a great experience. But do you know anybody who isn’t pursuing that field but still found their pathway experience valuable?
I have a friend who is interested in many other things and none of them are focused on the environment. She wants to look more into border control. She’s also interested in becoming a firefighter. But ESET and Carson High helped her so much in teaching her basic skills such as how to dress and how to act at an interview. I remember her saying how being at ESET helped her come out of her shell and how, even though she went to Women in STEM and wasn’t interested in engineering, she still felt empowered to hear these women go through such struggles and still make it.
We heard that you were originally going to attend U.C. Davis but that’s no longer the case?
Afraid not. Due to financial issues, I have to go to community [college] first, and then I’ll transfer.
Where will you be going then?
I’m going to be attending El Camino [College]
Well, good luck at El Camino! Do you have any final thoughts?
Just if you guys do have any more opportunities. You’re a really great organization. You have no idea how helpful you are to young students like me and in other high schools. I am still going to community [college] and I’ll be in the area so I would love to work in any events [Linked learning] has.
We will absolutely be in touch! Thank you for taking the time to chat with us and we wish you all the best!