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I Am Knox -- Diandra Soemardi '17


Megan Scott

Editor, Knox Magazine

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Diandra Soemardi '17

I am Knox—Diandra Soemardi '17

Hometown: Jakarta, Indonesia
Major/Minor: Chemistry major, Creative Writing minor
Campus Clubs & Organizations: Chemistry Club, Islamic Club, Asian Student Association, Mortar Board
Class Year:

Three Facts About Sarah 

  1. She typically sees her family in Indonesia just once a year, during the summer. This year, however, she stayed on campus to work with Professor Helen Hoyt '01.
  2. Together, she and Professor Hoyt are exploring the possibility of using iron as a cheap, abundant, energy-saving, and non-toxic catalyst in chemical reactions.
  3. She is also an accomplished writer who likes to incorporate scientific ideas into her poetry and fiction. One of her works of fiction focused on a massive forest fire that recently engulfed Indonesia.

How did you decide to come to Knox?

I graduated from an international school in Bali that prepares students to study abroad for their college years. I knew I wanted to go to a small liberal arts college with a good reputation in science and writing because those are my two main passions. Diversity was also an important factor, because I wanted to have an easier time fitting in among other people who are different than me. So, naturally, Knox was a great fit.

Being an international student is tough, no question. Committing four years of my life in a foreign country without my family is one of the wildest decisions that I've ever made. There is a lot that comes with it, including culture shock, homesickness, and the pressure of representing your whole nation. I am very proud of my cultural background, and so I bring it to Knox by performing at I-Fair, teaching Balinese dance classes, and bringing up social/political issues from Indonesia to be discussed among my peers. My friends, classmates, and professors have made me feel really comfortable here. Knox has become a second home, and a place for me to thrive.

What do you hope to do with your Knox degree?

I am really interested in renewable energy. As a global citizen, I think we can all agree that energy is one of the biggest problems we have to tackle. As an Indonesian, I know that my country's biggest challenge is access. Indonesia is the world's largest archipelago nation; therefore, you can imagine how difficult it is for all of the islands to get equal access to electricity. My dream is to find a way where each family can be independent in harnessing energy for their own use.

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Printed on Sunday, January 20, 2019