published april 2023

Written by Izzy Nobili

Simrin’s Story


Sophomore majoring in Public Health and Environmental Science

For Simrin Carlsen, sustainability and community are interdependent. Carlsen was drawn to the Office of Sustainability internship program because of its ability to address this intersection of ideas, and because it allowed her to become more involved in both the JHU community and the Baltimore community at large.  

“[This opportunity] put me in the best position to do that,” says Carlsen on getting involved. “The fact that this was an engagement internship, focused on getting my peers engaged in what I was already super passionate about, was so up my alley.” 

Simrin’s Work 

Already, Carlsen has been impressed by the teamwork, collaboration, and responsibility offered by the Engagement Internship.  

“The relationships that I have already formed with the other engagement interns have been wonderful,” says Carlsen. “We all have strengths in different areas and are bringing to the table different skills and backgrounds. That gives us a really holistic view for the events that we will be putting on.” 

In terms of impact, Carlsen says that she would like to influence meaningful change in two major ways.

I think after learning about more sustainable practices and how I can bring them to our community, we can empower people.

Simrin Carlsen

First, Carlsen would like to encourage her peers that “sustainability is achievable with teamwork and dedication.  

“It’s daunting when you are an individual because you think that you don’t have the ability to change,” says Carlsen. “I think after learning about more sustainable practices and how I can bring them to our community, we can empower people.” 

Her second intention ties to her community-mindedness. She hopes to encourage students at JHU to get involved in the city of Baltimore and to extend sustainable impact beyond the Homewood campus.  

“The demographic of people at Hopkins and the demographic of people in Baltimore is so drastically different,” says Carlsen. “All it takes is stepping off campus to see that and to realize that there are a ton of disparities in the city itself.” 

Simrin’s Inspiration 

For Carlsen, this drive to influence sustainable change stems from an upbringing that shielded her, in many ways, from this type of disparity that she now sees in Baltimore.  

“I grew up in a very white-collar, suburban area where disparities were not super evident to me,” says Carlsen. In joining her greenhouse club in high school and delivering crops to a nearby homeless shelter, Carlsen “realized that you do not have to look far at all to see the disparities that are around you, especially in a place where I was living where it was almost being covered up.” 

“This quickly segued into my love of the environment,” says Carlsen. Approaching community involvement from a lens of sustainability interests Carlsen, who feels that with genuine investment and with relationship-building, positive change is possible.