LC – 2014 Student Bios

Student Bios

Hideto Akasu (Hiddy)
19 years old
from Kokubunji, Tokyo, Japan
I love soccer!!!
I love meat!!
iA mi me gusta argentina!            

Hello! My name
is Julie Jackson, I’m from Westminster, California, and I’m currently a
freshman at Soka University. I am so happy to be a part of this learning cluster
because I think it is important to demonstrate what you learn through your
actions. I love learning about different cultures and I’ve always been
really interested in Latin America, but I have never had the opportunity to
visit. I am excited to be visiting Buenos Aires because it is so rich in
diversity. I’m interested in exploring the topic of sustainable housing
due to the economic and environmental aspects, and I would like to be able to
share the idea with other people. I really enjoy film and photography, and
I was a producer for a film class for three years in highschool. I hope to
document our trip so we can share our experiences with others.

there! My name is Shelsea Ramirez. I was born in Queens, New York and I spent
my high school years in West Palm Beach, Florida. I am currently a sophomore at
Soka University of America and I am extremely fortunate to be selected to go to
Argentina to learn about sustainable housing. As a child, I spent a great deal
of time in Colombia and Ecuador with family which caused me to want to focus my
studies on Latin America. More specifically, I want to improve the living
standard and education for children in impoverished areas in Latin America. I
believe that my experience in this learning cluster can be connected with my
current goal because I will learn to analyze and apply sustainable housing
methods safely and efficiently. I plan on reapplying the experience
in the future in order to help modify the living standards of
families in an environmentally friendly way. I am really excited about this
opportunity to connect with nature and build the adobe structure with my peers
from SUA!

  My name is Hideo Suzuki. I am a sophomore at Soka
University. I am really eager to participate in this learning cluster in
order to deeply understand the true meaning of building house. Previously, I
had never considered the possibility of people being able to live on their own
house with their environment and financial benefits. However, when I
volunteered at Fukushima, where a big earthquake happened in 2011, I noticed
the importance of being able to live in my own house. What I did there was the
debris removal in order for them to rebuild their own house. This experience
has interested in sustainable development. And now, my dream is to contribute
the revival of Japan from the disaster by managing urban planning. So, I am
very excited to learn on-site and have a great opportunity to broaden my view
of environmental planning

Katie Iwagami.Hello! I’m Katie and I am a sophomore at Soka University of
America. This will be my first learning cluster abroad, and also my first time
to South America! I hail from the suburbs of New York and was born to a
Japanese father and Dominican mother. My mother encouraged me ever since I was
a child to embrace nature and express my emotions through art and dance. I grew
up listening to music while painting on large pieces of paper on the walls and
enjoying the humid summers, and bitterly cold winters of my childhood outside
in the backyard with my younger sister. In the last few years I have really
engaged in studying the culture of the Dominican Republic and I’ve developed a
great desire to visit the island and engage in dialogues with the children and
mother, especially in the poorest areas. In the future I want to give back to my
mother’s home country. I am interested in establishing or
working in a center for the youth. I’m determined to really utilize all aspects
of this learning cluster experience so that I may learn the techniques and
process of what to takes to create a sustainable structure and then apply it to
future endeavors in the slums of D.R. Because of my great love of travel,
history and art, I am looking forward to studying the neoclassical architecture
and diving into the culture of Buenos Aires as well. Although I have very little
experience in construction, I feel more than ready to work with a great Soka
team and share this hands-on experience of establishing a low-cost, self-sufficient,
natural adobe structure.  

Corina Velasquez. I am a 3rd year student at Soka University
of America.  I enjoy being outdoors,
playing sports and hanging out with friends and family.  I am interested
in the area of sustainable living practices in relation to urban development. As
is commonly misunderstood, sustainable living is regarded to be for the
“poor”.  However, as we have learned,
that is not the case.  It often seems unrealistic
individuals living in cities to practice sustainable living practices because
of all the commodities available to live comfortably without the necessity of
putting in effort to live sustainably.
Yet, I have continued to question how it is possible to live a
sustainable living style even when living in a city.  It is such a crucial question for modern day
society and I believe my experience in Buenos Aires will be able to deepen my
understanding of how an individual can best do that.  I am excited for this LC to Argentina that will
give me the experience of building a home from start to finish as well as being
able to further my knowledge of how sustainable living can be practiced jointly
with urban development.   

  Hey, Scott Bower here.
I was born and raised in Torrance, California.  I love to eat Mexican food, go to the beach,
and play soccer.  My interest in
sustainable housing stems from the fact that the housing sector of the United
States is vital to the nation’s economic wealth.  I want to learn more about how sustainable
housing practices and materials would provide a better alternative to current
methods of construction.  The economic
and political implications of this shift fascinates me and I believe that a
greater understanding of the dynamics involved in the process of sustainable
housing will help me to elucidate this dichotomy between the environment and
the market.  Oh, and by the way I have a
cat named Little Spot (Manchito).

My name is Mitsu Hashimoto. I am 19 years old and currently a freshman at Soka University of America. I was born and raised in Brussels, Belgium, but my mother is American and my father Japanese. I had heard about earth building a few years back, but it was still a very vague notion to me back then. I was not much aware of housing and sustainability issues, but this changed when I came to SUA. One of the classes I took during my first semester was sustainable cities which explored issues in sustainable urban development. This got me interested in sustainability and improving our conception of modern development. When I read the description of this learning cluster and did some research on earth building, I realized that this was a practice I wanted to learn more about. I feel that earth building is an extremely viable alternative to our modern day construction methods. I hope that I will be able to apply earth building to my own home some day, and maybe help others learn more about the practice. This will definitely be an enriching experience with a great group!  

Saludos! My name is Albert Pineda and I am a freshman at Soka. I am of Mexican descent and was born and raised near Los Angeles. Two summers ago, I volunteered to travel to Baja California, Mexico, to build a small house for a family of four; it made a permanent impact on my life. I was introduced to this program to Argentina by Professor Tomas and was strongly intrigued by the environmental benefits of sustainable housing, something I did not ponder in my trip to Mexico. Apart from the studies of sustainable homes, I am also excited about having the opportunity to learn and study the different cultures of Argentina and be able to interact with its people. With knowledge of filmmaking, I hope to contribute in preserving the experience through media in an easily shareable way that will allow scholars to see the importance of our accomplishments.

Hola ! I’m Milly Burnett, a sophomore at SUA, focusing on Environmental Studies and Education! I am extremely excited for our upcoming trip to Argentina, as it will be my first time in South America – and first time building an adobe house. I grew up in Nashville, TN, where I cultivated my love for music, the outdoors, and education. I have always thought about becoming teacher, but it wasn’t until I reached SUA that I realized that my mission lied in environmental education regarding sustainable practices. My interest in sustainability has only continued to grow, as I watch our Earth suffering from unsustainable practices. I believe it is vital for the U.S, as a wealthy nation to adopt sustainable development in cities and suburbs alike, and through this LC, I’ll explore how Argentina has begun to tackle this daunting challenge ! I’m looking forward to working with our group (and hopefully next month know a bit more Spanish !) Adios !!