Rafa Saa Rodriguez

  • B.S. in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering

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Global Challenge: Renewable Energy

Re-engineering of renewable energy systems, such as solar energy, could produce monumental changes in terms of water-processing and energy-managing practices for the MENA region and other similarly challenged regions of the world.”


I was born in my family’s native Quito, Ecuador. After living in Muscat, Oman for 11 years, I moved to Brooklyn to major in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at NYU Tandon. My past engineering research experience includes attending a Stanford summer program in Chemical Physics, where I researched and created a mock proposal for the photoinitiated dissociation of Bromoiodomethane under Stanford’s Linear Particle Accelerator (SLAC).

I acquired vast experience in leading diverse individuals through involvement in the global Model United Nations program, where I served as my high school’s Secretary General and main committee chair in my final year. Through succeeding in various conferences, I gained insight into how global issues are better addressed by uniting international powers and perspectives.

Intent on contributing to my native community while living abroad, I participate as a volunteer Spanish-to-English translator for PLAN International, an NGO aiding impoverished Ecuadorian women’s fights for basic human rights. My translations of books, documents, and letters finally allowed for international publication of these women’s stories and for their visibility amongst PLAN’s global partners and donors.

Beyond engineering and humanitarianism, I foster a passion for sports and nutrition. I played tennis competitively for 12 years and ranked in international tournaments throughout Latin America and Asia. I have now grown into a love for weightlifting. To compliment an active life, I use healthy eating and baking as therapy.