Lily Jarosz


Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Academic Interests

Civil Engineering, Computer Science, Global Development Engineering

Fun Fact

My favorite food is tostones with mayo-ketchup. It reminds me of Puerto Rico, the homeland of my family. 

My number one passion is ensuring that the earth remains hospitable for future generations. This has been an ongoing passion of mine, and I have dabbled in many sides of this issue. During high school, I had the opportunity to work with Protect PT, a local non-profit that advocates for local environmental issues, in addition to the Alliance for Climate Education, a national non-profit that joins like-minded youth to create change. At this point in my life, I was confident that I wanted to approach my passion from a policy perspective. This changed when I took my gap year. After graduating in 2021, I made the choice to pause my education and spend a year in Puerto Rico. Partially a time to rest and recover, partially a time to establish a deeper connection with my cultural heritage, it inadvertently also became a time to reassess my academic priorities. Seeing the increasing corruption and lack of progress toward climate justice on the island forced me to question policy as an effective problem solver. This, in conjunction with the crippling infrastructure that was always at risk due to natural disasters that were only increasing in intensity, changed my perspective. I focused my passion on improving the infrastructure of cities, the standard of living of the residents of said cities, and placing a special emphasis on the resilience of these infrastructural systems against natural disasters. Maximizing my change-making potential is best done on the front lines; this was a realization that pushed me toward a career in STEM, specifically Civil Engineering.

Outside an academic setting, my hobbies include spending time with my friends and my family and traveling. Creating meaningful relationships has always been of utmost importance to me. Having a community (like SPIRE) that you can rely on leads to a beautiful symbiosis and the enrichment of all. Travel is an extension of this. Expanding your worldview by familiarizing yourself with different cultures and people only makes you more equipped to solve problems in such an interconnected world. Being able to travel through my job is a high priority for me.

What do you like about being a SPIRE Fellow?

Duke is amazing in so many ways, but the facet that sticks out to me the most is the network of support available. Whether it be through the relationships that I have cultivated or the resources provided to the entire student body, I never feel alone at Duke. I know if I need help, in practically any matter, I just have to say the word. It is a beautiful feeling of comfort.

Lily Jaroz
Lily Jarosz