EARTH graduate Johanny Arilexis Pérez (‘10, Dominican Republic) lights up when she talks about creating meaningful change. This past March, she did so on a global stage during the TEDx talk she gave in Bled, Slovenia: “From Simple Ideas to Big Transformation.” In it, she spoke about her graduation project at EARTH; as a fourth-year student in 2010, she and a classmate educated children in the town of Pocora (near the University) in Guácimo, Limón, about ways to make their community more sustainable and challenged them to share their ideas with five people per week. In this way, they taught nearly 2,000 people about ecological stewardship. For their dedication, she and her classmate won the Sustainability Prize at EARTH in 2010. By providing an example of environmental leadership to others, Johanny hopes to encourage similar such actions around the globe.
“It was truly an unforgettable experience,” says Johanny of her participation in the TEDx conference. She heard about the opportunity through her involvement in the organization Challenge: Future, which sponsored the conference. Johanny had served on the organization’s Youth Advisory Board from 2009-2010, and when it announced a contest for TEDx talk proposals, she entered and won.
After graduating, she worked in 2011 in her hometown of San Cristobal, in the south of the Dominican Republic, as the Coordinator of Institutional Projects at the Instituto Especializado de Estudios Superiores Loyola. She is currently pursuing her master’s in science in environmental engineering at the University of Stuttgart, Germany, and she was recently elected Vice President of the Germany-based International Association of HydroEnvironment Research and Engineering.