Xiaoyuan (Charlene) Ren
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA
Dual Masters in Environmental Engineering and Technology & Policy, Class of 2016
Field: Environmental Engineering
**Recipient of a Letter of Recommendation from Andrew and Lila Meade**
**Recipient of the Echoing Green Fellowship**
“VHP is probably the very beginning of my NGO experience. Even though I've worked in many student organizations before, VHP was a completely different experience, with the professional working environment, the vigorous structures, the steep learning curves and ultimately the strong statement of vision and theory of change behind all the actions. The process of registering for an NGO, the grant application procedures, and the methods for engaging your team members and the public all gave me a look into this brand new career aspect in the non-profit and developmental organizations sector, prompting me to become more engaged in this sector in China, my home country as well.
I was also trusted with the responsibility of leading the merchandise team at a point where I didn't yet feel confident enough about my leadership skills in foreign country. It really helped me realize my potential and become more in touch with inner urge to lead teams and connect with others through this empowerment process.
I would say that all of these was essential to the later founding of my current organization MyH2O, which works on water quality crowd-sourcing and mapping in China. I have just won the Echoing Green fellowship and will be going back to China now to work on the organization full-time. It was the courage and the inner-calling that VHP helped bring out in me that later manifested into a larger desire to create my own impact in this world. I would never have thought that this untraditional pathway is a possibility for me. I owe it to the endless source of faith that VHP instilled in me, and I hope to do just half as good in passing this spirit now to my own team members as VHP once has so successfully done it for me.”