Many Things, In the Air, All at Once
Liliana Vornehm knows how to keep multiple things in the air at once. When she was four, Vornehm saw a free juggling show at the library and thought it looked so cool she wanted to learn how to do it herself. By the time she was nine, she spent the whole summer practicing juggling. “I don’t know if my downstairs neighbors really liked me after dropping that many things on the floor, but it worked and I moved on from balls to rings to clubs!”
Now that she is studying Community & Environmental Planning and Sustainability at the University of New Hampshire, Vornehm appreciates being skilled at managing many things at once. “Community planning has a lot of similarities to juggling,” she says. “You’re constantly facing new challenges, and need to find creative ways to combine the resources you have to produce new positive outcomes.”
Vornehm, a Nashua native, spent the past summer as an intern in Eversource’s Energy Efficiency department. One of the projects she’s proud to have had a hand in was helping wastewater treatment plants take advantage of efficiency upgrades. “As a Community & Environmental Planning major, that was a particularly interesting area for me because it involved not only saving energy through energy infrastructure, but also through waste management infrastructure.”
As an intern–but especially as a juggler–Vornehm has learned the importance of changing perspective and looking at the details a bit differently. “Most people would see an apple and think about eating it. A juggler sees an apple and thinks about throwing it in the air to entertain people,” she says. “The effect of a resource, such as an apple, can be wildly different depending on how you use it.”
Working with her colleagues here and digging into the details on the wastewater treatment plants gave her a new perspective on how individual infrastructure projects can affect the whole community. “Community planning is this high-level thing where you’re trying to address these large groups of people, these big ideas, these big projects. But ultimately change happens on an individual level.”
Vornehm enjoyed her Eversource internship this summer (which also came with a $2,500 scholarship). “It showed me what the workplace is like; there’s a lot more collaboration and the projects are a lot longer term, and there’s always someone around where you can ask questions.” She’s also excited to get back to her classes at UNH in Durham. In addition to her dual major, she’s on the school’s Judo Club–last spring she took 4th in her division at the Collegiate Nationals in San Jose. You could say she’s got a lot to juggle.