Collin Yarbrough is what you might call multilingual. He says he speaks four languages: English, engineering, business and Spanish. And he’s serious, because as an engineering & management major at Clarkson, Collin has spent the past four years learning the ins and outs of both the engineering and business worlds.
“I like being able to discuss factors of safety and thermodynamic cycles with engineers and then five seconds later, revise capital structures and conduct market research with business majors. But the best is when I get to be multilingual all in one conversation,” he jokes.
Collin chose E&M for this exact reason. “I like having the latitude to develop both sides and find my strengths. I’ve been an entrepreneur for as long as I can remember, from lemonade stands and lawn mowing to building websites,” he says. “Knowing I could be an entrepreneur and an engineer was exciting.”
Graduating with a degree in E&M, Collin could have many goals for the future, but he has just one: save the world. He explains, “I can’t exactly say what form reaching my goal will take. I’m hoping to go into building efficiency and reducing the energy consumption of the world’s building stock. If that means I have to start my own sustainability consulting company, then so be it!”
Sustainability has been a passion of Collin’s since his roommate, John Exley ’11, started a new student organization on campus called Sustainable Synergy while Collin was on his first of two professional experiences at Johnson & Johnson (J&J).
As soon as Collin returned to campus, he became very involved in the group, eventually becoming president. “Joining the group gave me the realization that this is what I am supposed to be doing,” he explains. “The club is really focused on renewable energy and sustainability, especially on our own campus. I found that I can use my broad knowledge of many subjects to tackle the obstacles of sustainability.”
Sustainable Synergy’s current and past projects include researching the possibility for a campus-wide bathroom retrofit with eco-friendly shower heads and sink aerators to save over five million gallons of water per year, working with local government agencies and businesses on a donation drive to provide local residents with free energy efficient light bulbs, and finding an alternative water source for apartment complexes on campus.
Being an active member of the club has also helped Collin develop strong relationships with a wide variety of Clarkson administrators and professors, specifically Associate Director for Sustainability Susan Powers, Environmental Health & Safety Manager Elayna Mellas, University Engineer Ian Hazen, Assistant Professor of Humanities Stephen Bird, and Associate Professor in the Institute for a Sustainable Environment Alan Rossner.
“It amazes me how hard everyone at the University works. They are all incredibly supportive with everything Synergy is doing and Susan and Stephen have been wonderful in helping me figure out my direction after college,” he says.
Collin hopes to continue learning more about sustainability with another summer internship at J&J. “With my first two professional experiences with J&J, I was able to find out what I was and wasn’t interested in when it comes to careers and industries while working with the incredible people there. Plus, I got to eat tons of the best barbecue food on the face of the planet!”
And this semester, he’s trying to add a fifth language to his repertoire – Gaelic – as he studies abroad in Ireland. “So far, it has been an incredible experience. It is always fun to put myself in a unique living situation on my own and figure things out,” he says. “That’s what it’s all about.”
What language could he possibly add next? We’re putting our money on “environmental.”