Around The Yard: Ben Skinner

Returning to for a fifth season, "Around The Yard: Life As A Harvard Student-Athlete" explores life away from the playing fields for select Harvard student-athletes through their own first-person narrativeFor a full list of blog entries, click here.

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Ben Skinner
September 26, 2018

Al Gore spoke to a full house at Sanders Theater my freshman year, describing the dangers of global climate change. Yet, his speech laid out the path towards sustainability and renewable energy. Along with my desire to be a part of such a future, my fascination with math, technology, and the environment resulted in my choice to concentrate in environmental engineering with a secondary in computer science. Additionally, I have distinct passion for surfing that has come with an innate desire to protect the ocean. Similar to many of my fellow student-athletes, my course load at Harvard has been both challenging and rewarding. Between baseball, academics, weekly shifts at the Harvard Homeless Shelter, and social events, I have been pushed to learn and become a better version of myself.

The liberal arts education at Harvard permits students on a more technical path to gain exposure to a wide range of fields. I have taken more traditional Environmental Engineering classes such as Computer Aided Machine Design, Thermodynamics, Pollution in Aquatic Ecosystems, and several computer science classes. However, I’ve also had the luxury of studying The American Dream in Film, Visual Studies of the North American Seacoast, Micro and Macro Economics, and many more. I believe that taking such diverse courses has helped foster practical problem solving skills and look forward to drawing upon my broad background as I move into the professional world.

I hope to ultimately end up on the business side of sustainability. ESG investing, renewable energy, and sustainable companies continue to grow every day. This summer I worked on the Financial Technology team at BlackRock and was able to learn about investment management while utilizing my technical skills. BlackRock is on the forefront of sustainable investing and provides many opportunities in the finance industry. I had a great experience with the company and plan to return to the San Francisco office following graduation. I also attended a research trip to the Canadian Rockies with Harvard’s Earth and Planetary Sciences department this summer. In addition to the joys of camping and hiking, this was a unique opportunity to explore and learn about geology and the tectonic structures of the region. This ranged from analyzing the various fold-and-thrust belts in the region to hiking to a glacier to study glacial geology.

Engineering is the not the most traditional path for a student-athlete at Harvard, but I believe that it is a worthwhile one. I feel fortunate to have been able to study at the premier university in the world while playing a Division I sport. The education I have received at Harvard has already opened many doors for me, and the bonds that I have formed with my remarkable teammates and classmates will remain strong long after graduation.