Tell us a bit about youself!
Where did you grow up?
Yo, Yo, I’m Jonathan D. Ambrose (Torres). I grew up in SoCal (Southern California) in a small urban city! I was cared for by two loving parents and four older sisters. My sister’s say, I was spoiled because I always found a way to avoid doing my chores and trouble ;). I was also raised as a Seventh Day Adventist (SDA); today I’m thankful for values I gained. Moreover, I got along well with my peers’ and adults alike growing up because of my charm and humor. I enjoyed making people smile (Especially in class ;)). A major turning point in my life, was moving in with my grandmother to Puerto Rico (Caribbean) at 17 for personal reasons. The culture shock and personal struggles were huge, but amidst this I was able to adapt and find friends, adventure, and myself again. In college, I had the privilege to travel by plane to distant places for leisure and work. I ended up graduating civil engineering from the “del antes, ahora y sempre, Collegio!” University of Mayaguez. I’m grateful for this.
What is your interest growing up?
I wanted to be an architect. I was always creating (legos, drawing, etc,.)
Share that quirky side of yours, what is it?
I thought that balancing the brain hemispheres was important. So, at 16 I learned how to write with my right hand now and now I’m ambidextrous.
What is your experience prior to joining EPA?
My work experience prior to involved paid internships with renown US universities and government institutions alike. I was involved in Materials Science research and ended up co-authoring a paper in undergrad. I got to travel a lot because of my involvement in research and the academic societies I was involved in. After graduation I had a few employments offers and accepted work for a top consulting company.
What led you to joining EPA? Your expectations of EPA?
Yea, definitely. I felt a bit out of place in my engineering faculty despite my success. I was discouraged by my peer’s narrow view of the world which was a disaster for my personality type and worldview. I already had an EPA lens of the world; In my last year, I wrote and presented a “novel” perspective Sustainable and Resiliency as a winning combination to address climate change through existing building certification policies. This was a year after hurricane Maria. Somehow, I stumbled on the EPA program, and felt like I had found a place where people thought like me. So, took a flight to The Netherlands, sat in on some classes, and confirmed these beliefs.
How does it align with your interest(s), are the expectations met?
I have enjoyed the diverse perspectives from my peers within The EPA program. I like the different policy topics and scenarios you encounter during the coursework. My expectations of the program have not been met entirely, but I as of Q3, I see room for them being met. COVID-19 measures have really changed the way in which you interact.
What is the most exciting opportunity that you have been working on since EPA?
I have not created as many opportunities for myself as I would have done in my youth. However, I’m currently developing a mental model of trading with the systems principles I’ve learned in class. Eventually, I’d like to develop a nice predictive model for passive income.
How would you describe the impact you’d like to make after EPA?
Yeah, I carry my personal brand wherever I go. So, after EPA, I’ll continue live by Excellence, Perseverance, and Harmony to impact the world. I think this starts with yourself. On a professional level, I’d like to help the Puerto Rican Economy by developing polices that work. A position in the Puerto Rican Government or within Washington D.C. as a Representative could help me accomplish this. After I’ve made my contribution, I’d like to travel for three months out of the year to work in a developing country.
And any messages, advice to current/ prospective EPA students out there?
Yeah, The EPA program promises a lot, but ultimately, you must put in the work and direction. For prospective students, you really need to think about whether modeling grand challenges is what you want to do. With other programs you could be done in year or be working. For current EPA students, I’d say to really start contacting professors to get a head start on your thesis and don’t stop talking to employers (governments, agencies, non-profits, consultancies) about a part time job for specific experience you want. Ultimately, The EPA is a good program if it aligns with your interest in modeling. You’ll have to wait for your thesis to do a project you really like, but that’s ok.