Meet Liz Cantlebary, our 2017 Young Humanitarian Award winner. One may wonder, “What is the difference between a volunteer and a humanitarian?” Cantlebary argues, “A volunteer shows ups and does what needs to be done. A humanitarian possesses the passion to make the world a better place. It’s the difference in how you spend an hour vs how you spend your life.” Liz exemplifies humanitarianism and has continued her work as a freshman at Cornell University studying chemical engineering. Her academic focus is on renewable energy and energy storage.  Cornell was a perfect choice for her because she has found a group of amazing, motivated, and focused students like herself.

Liz is so focused and motivated that she spent this past summer working 3 jobs to get ready for college life in upstate New York.

Once she got to Cornell and became acclimated to college life, she became involved with a program called AguaClara. This program designs sustainable water treatment systems committed to long-term environmental, social, and economic sustainability in Honduras and India.

Liz has been involved in the research and development side of this project, taking her passion for helping others and her academic focus to create a unique opportunity. Next winter break she hopes to travel to Honduras and see the human side of this AguaClara project.

You can learn a little more about AguaClara here.

When asked about what makes someone eligible for this award, Liz said, “It’s not about the number of hours logged, length of your resume, or qualifying projects. It’s about the passion you provide in your everyday life.  More than the places you serve, it’s about the everyday interactions you have with all people. It’s the demeanor you have. It’s smiling as you walk down the hall. It’s the little things you do to make a difference in the lives of those around you.”

The advice Liz has to anyone who is thinking about applying is simple. “Don’t be afraid to let your personality come across. Sincerity and passion is a lot more important than writing an essay to what you think the judges want to see.”

Show us your personality and apply for the 2018 Young Humanitarian Award here.   Applications are due March 1, 2018