San Carlos, California
Major in Environmental Studies, Self-designed Minor in Energy
Why did you choose Knox?
At the time, I wanted to be a doctor. I got a call from a student here and he asked, “Are you thinking about Knox at all?” I said, “Yeah, kind of, I guess. I don’t know too much about it.”
Then he asked, “What do you want to do?” I said, “I want to be a doctor.” So he said, “100% of our pre-med students got into their top choice of medical school last year.”
I said, “OK, I’m going.” And then I (later) realized pre-med wasn’t the thing for me.
Is there a professor or class that has had a significant impact on your education/your research/your career plans?
One of the classes that really made me think a lot, and critically, and open my eyes to a lot of things was Nic Mink’s class on Food Policy and American Power.
It opened my eyes up to a lot of new things and made me think more about issues. And it definitely, definitely opened my eyes up to the importance of food -- not just that food is very important because you eat it every day. Food is also very important in all of the ways in which we acquire it.
You’ve been working on an aquaponics project, in which the goal is to grow parsley and spinach in a controlled environment, without soil. Can you elaborate?
I’m trying to raise plants for eating -- and eventually fish, as well. We were hoping to get some more sprouts here, but that didn’t happen. Even with all the planning and research I did, actually doing it is probably the toughest part. Getting healthy plants is not that easy.
But it’s really cool that here at Knox, I am given the opportunity to do and create like this, rather than just research and research. It’s been a lot of fun, even if it’s been frustrating.
(Photos at right and at bottom of page: Jamie Jang with the aquaponics research project he built in his basement. Waste from a fish tank, located just below the aquaponics container, gets circulated into a gravel bed where plants are grown.)
What’s the most important thing you’ve learned at Knox outside of the classroom?
Once you move out of your parents’ house, at least for me, you’re bound to make mistakes.
And like with this aquaponics system, mistakes will happen, but it doesn’t mean you can’t restart. It doesn’t mean it’s all over, and just because you can’t ensure no mistakes will happen, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get started.”
How would you describe campus life at Knox?
I haven’t been to many other colleges, so I can’t really compare a lot, but I imagine it’s pretty unique. For such a small school, there are so many different people that you can really get to know. And since it is small, you’re kind of forced to get to know all of these different types of people.