My name is Corbyn Cools and I am from Boise, Idaho. I am 26 years old and I am currently studying a Master’s in Environmental Engineering – Engineering for International Development in the Master’s International program at the University of South Florida. I did my undergrad at Boise State University and received my Bachelor’s in Civil Engineering in December 2015. I have some international experience in Mexico, Costa Rica and France. In 2011 I studied abroad for two semesters at Tecnológico de Monterrey in Monterrey, Mexico. I went to Mexico through an exchange program called the Global Engineering Education Exchange (GE3). The reason I went to Mexico to study was to reconnect with my Mexican roots from my mom’s side of the family and to become fluent in Spanish. I have also been on five mission trips to Tijuana, Mexico working in orphanages. Each mission trip focused on specific projects at the orphanages we work and depended on the needs at the time. In 2014 I went to Monteverde, Costa Rica with a Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) Program through USF. The REU was a combination of anthropology and engineering. While in Costa Rica my group and I designed and built a greywater treatments system in the form of a biogarden. Dr. Sarina Ergas was the engineering advisor for my group and the program and I was very impressed with her knowledge of environmental engineering. After I graduated from Boise State I traveled to France to learn French. I spent two and a half months living with a French family, helping clean and cook and improve my French. I speak Spanish fluently and I am an intermediate French speaker.
I have known since I was fifteen that I want a career that helps people directly. I realized I could make a difference if I could provide clean water and sanitation to people that don’t have access to water and sanitation in their country. For that reason I would like a career in international development. I started researching how I could start my career in international development and I found out about the Master’s International program on the Peace Corps’s website. When I saw the list of schools that had Master’s International programs in Civil and Environmental Engineering I had no clue which one I would end up going to. I thought I would probably go to UC Davis or Michigan because I saw that they had a lot of experience with the program. By pure coincidence or destiny I met someone that had just come from the REU program in Costa Rica from that moment on my path was destined for USF and the rest is history. I have already applied to the Peace Corps and I am hoping to serve in Panama. I would like to serve in Panama because they have one of the few programs dedicated to WASH engineering, I am fluent in Spanish and I have always wanted to live in Latin America.