The alum tells us about his involvement with the Columbia River Field School and how Quest prepared him for life post-grad.

You just graduated! Looking back, what’s the best thing you learned at Quest?

Quest taught me how to complete high-quality work in remarkably short periods of time, and to how navigate between diverse fields and formats with competence. But most importantly, Quest has taught me that what matters is what you can do, not what ‘kind of person’ you are. I’m not afraid to pursue things that are supposed to be out of reach for undergraduate students.

Quest offers lots of great on-campus activities. Tell us about yours!

In my first year, I co-founded the Quest Bike Co-Op to give students the knowledge and the tools to fix their own ride. I remember being thrilled to find that, with minimal bureaucracy, I could just create something new that I enjoyed and the University really needed.

You also ran a Quest-style field course at the Columbia River Field School.

In 12 days, we learned to canoe, traveled a few hundred miles of the Columbia, asked tough questions, and met with 21 top level guest experts from many different fields in the places on the river that were most relevant to their expertise. All the students and the leaders came away feeling very inspired about the potential for getting more young people out on the river to learn.

And you somehow found time to get published in an academic journal?

In my third year, I got to do a Winter Fellowship, where I was paid to do independent research in partnership with a Quest Tutor. My fellowship advisor Rich Wildman and I kept working on the project after the fellowship ended. 18 months later, our research on renegotiation of the Columbia River Treaty was accepted for publication by the journal Water International. I’m now working on translating this research into an Op-Ed article for journalistic outlets.

What was your Question?

How do we shape water and how does it shape us?

That’s so awesome! Tell us a fun fact about you that most people don’t know.

I was born in Honduras in a Spanish-speaking environment. So, in a funny twist of fate, my very first word was “agua.”

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