Simran Sonika – STEM Super Youth Advocate: Tacoma
I was born and raised in the Fiji Islands. Like many other families and homes in my country, our family went through the disaster of being flood victims. Considering my past experience of being a flood victim and witnessing the lack of health assistance in the time of disaster, I became determined to work on environmental issues. This is when I first understood how environmental sustainability is associated with everyday lives.
My family immigrated to the United States in 2013. It was probably the hardest decision my parents had to make, but it has changed the course of my family for the better. Despite never receiving higher education, my parents have always been supportive of my dreams and goals. The ongoing events in my life, from being a flood victim to an immigrant, have certainly shaped who I am today. Family support is essential to me. When we were going through rough times, my family was always there for me. Everyone gave me the courage I needed to stay strong. They stood by me. I sometimes wonder what my life would have been like if my parents had not made those tough decisions in life. We would certainly not be where we are today. Having lived through all the challenges, I am more confident, independent, and resilient than ever. I learned to make the best out of difficult situations and always move forward in life.
I am now a senior at the University of Washington, majoring in Environmental Sustainability with a concentration in non-profit and business. The classes that I have taken so far have given me an insight into the work and the importance of the sustainability field. My core skills are collaboration, working in a fast-paced environment with clients, and cross-cultural communication. I am also a server at a restaurant. I have gained some client-based experience by serving people with diverse backgrounds. I am responsible for the new-server onboarding process. This experience has provided opportunities to enhance my teambuilding and leadership skills.
I am hoping to apply what I have learned in the classroom and at my job to the cause and community I care deeply about. I want to become an active member of the environmental community and make immediate contributions. That’s why I’m a STEM Super Youth Advocate.