PHOTO – Village Bamboo Summer Program students at the Leifeng Pagoda in Hangzhou, Zhejiang, China.

Two summers and one pandemic later, I am more grateful than ever for the opportunity I received in the summer of 2019! I was fortunate to attend the Village Bamboo Summer Program at Zhejiang University in Haining, Zhejiang Province, China with two of my fellow civil and environmental engineering classmates. The program, sponsored by Zhejiang University – University of Illinois Institute (ZJUI) and the International Bamboo and Rattan Organization (INBAR), provided seminars, discussion sessions, lab tours and experiences, and post workshop trips to bamboo forests, manufacturing facilities, and demonstration project sites. The travel costs were covered by Prof. Y. Xiao’s research grant. Lectures included such topics as Prof. Xiao’s discussion on the “Role of bamboo in sustainable development.” We participated in testing the characteristics of a bamboo house. Of special interest was a presentation by China-based DASSO founder Mr. Lin Hai. DASSO has pioneered the use of bamboo in a wide range of products. Mr. Lin spoke about bamboo as a sustainable resource and as a useful replacement for wood, which can only be harvested once, and has a much longer maturation period. Overall, I was amazed at the wide variety of products that can be made from bamboo and this inspired me to add a minor in entrepreneurship to my studies.

Our team also represented USC in the First International Concrete Dragon Boat Competition (ICDBC-2019). Our team designed and built a concrete dragon boat model ship with remote navigation capability. We were scored on design, experimental validation, and racing competition.

In addition to the beautiful campus, we also had the opportunity to experience the cities of Hangzhou, Jiaxing, Shanghai, and Beijing, including the Jing’an Sculpture Park, Zizhuyuan Park, Dashanzi Art District, The Palace Museum, and the Badaling Great Wall of China!

This was my first opportunity to travel outside of the country. Since COVID halted Summer 2020 Viterbi Abroad plans, I am even more grateful to have had this amazing opportunity. With increasingly tense international relations, having connections across the world is an invaluable component of the educational experience.

Alana MacMahon

Alana MacMahon

MAJOR: Environmental Engineering YEAR: Class of 2022 HOMETOWN: Wellington, Florida PRONOUNS: she/her/hers INSTA: @alanaa_xoxo_ I am the President of the American Academy of Environmental Engineers and Scientist, play the flute in the Student Symphony Orchestra, and volunteer as a tutor in Teach For Los Angeles. For fun I like to play soccer, paint, and enjoy the outdoors.