Cai May Tan
Cai May Tan
What is your previous work experience?
As recent college graduate, my work experience has been limited to internships with NGOs, but they have helped me define what I want to specialize in here at the Nicholas School. A turning point for me was an internship I completed while studying abroad in Dakar, Senegal. I was researching human rights violations and environmental implications from mining activities. The experience helped me see the interconnectedness of socioeconomic challenges and environmental degradation. After that I wanted to focus on my own community, and I was able to engage with the non-profit community in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, focusing primarily on climate action and sustainability. Currently, I am part of a group of Malaysian youth that communicates climate actions and follows up with international climate change negotiations in the Malaysian context.
Why did you choose the Nicholas School?
I chose the Nicholas School because I was able to make a strong personal connection with the school's mission of "creating knowledge and global leaders of consequence for a sustainable future." While finishing my undergraduate career at Soka University of America, I knew that I wanted to continue pursuing my academic interests but be prepared for a professional career at the same time. What drew me in to the Nicholas School was the quality of academic vigor and the focus on practical and professional skillset training, which is exactly what I was looking for. However, I would not have been able to make this choice if not for the generous donors that fund the Nicholas School and its wonderful community.
Do you have any areas of interest or special focus you will undertake during your time at the Nicholas School?
My priority is to learn as much as possible on climate policy, but at the same time explore other topics like natural resource conservation and find connections with my interests. I am excited about picking up new skills, such as GIS, and participating in practical programs like the Duke Environmental Law and Policy Clinic. This semester, I am a part of a group of students from Duke who will be attending COP 24 in Katowice, Poland, and working with clients on climate solutions.
What are you looking forward to as a new Nicholas School student?
I look forward to expanding my knowledge in environmental economics and environmental policy, especially on applications in the context of developing nations. I hope to work closely with professors and contribute to creating new research. With such a vibrant community, I hope to learn from my peers who have diverse backgrounds and experiences.
What future plans do you have for your career after the Nicholas School?
After the Nicholas School, I plan on establishing a career in policy consultancy. I hope to be able to engage with clients who aim to finance climate adaptation and resilience-building projects, and bridge the gap between communities and public agencies who are in need of support but lack capacity to reach out. I aspire to generate sustainable solutions to climate challenges around the globe.
I would like to convey my sincere thanks for your generous contributions. Without your support, my family and I would not have been able to afford my studies here at the Nicholas School, and we are thankful for the opportunity. I strive to make the Nicholas School proud, and will emerge as a contributive leader in my community. As a first generation college graduate, I aim to make full use of my resources here in the Nicholas community to achieve my career and personal goals to generate climate solutions.