Santiago Internship Spotlight: Joaquín Gajardo

January 04, 2021

“My name is Joaquín Gajardo, I am a MS in Sustainability Management (SPS’20) alumnus. 

“Being able to attend Columbia University was a dream come true, and it also happened to be one of my most impactful experiences. Growing up in a vulnerable area of Santiago, Chile, going to an Ivy League university was not in anyone’s plans. From my time at Columbia I can say that I was seen as the ‘exotic student’ (words from a Chinese classmate) which was something I was not expecting. However, that cultural shock was one of the most enriching experiences. Having classmates from all over the world and with very different backgrounds, with very few engineers such as myself, allowed me to learn a lot outside of the classroom. I really had a global experience and I want to use everything I have learned to help society really achieve sustainable development. 

“My experience living in NYC was great too. I rented an apartment near Columbia in Harlem, with all its history, stories and music. How the local population builds its own identity in a towering city, with neighborhoods that can have life by themselves and be so different from street to street was mind blowing. Also, now I find almost every building in Santiago to be so small! Being back in Chile, I am nothing but grateful about having lived all of this.” 

Joaquín is performing two internships:

“At Universidad de Concepción I am working with María Eugenia González, dean of the school of Agricultural Engineering. With her I am doing research on Non-Wood Forest Products, performing literature review of comparable experiences and identifying gaps regarding the Chilean experience and the specific experience with the group that Universidad de Concepción is working with.

“At [Climate Science and Resilience Center] CR2, I am working with Cecilia Ibarra and Raúl O'Ryan, developing a Public Investment Sustainability Framework to later evaluate post-Covid economic recovery in Latin America.”