April 1, 2008
Aaron Robson was attracted to Rice by the excellence of its academic programs. But men's track coach, Jon Warren, was also a strong selling point.
Robson was impressed by Warren's personality, training philosophy, and overall demeanor. After finding a rapport with the members of the track team, Robson said, "Rice seemed like the ideal place for me, where I would really enjoy myself."
His initial reaction proved correct. "The University has proved challenging, but also rewarding," he noted. "The more I learn about Jon, the more I admire and respect him as a coach and a person. And I have particularly enjoyed the team here at Rice."
Robson is uncertain about where his academic passion lies. He came into Rice as a mechanical engineer, but switched after three semesters to civil and environmental engineering.
"I liked the diversity of that field better. I feel rather strongly about the preservation of the natural world, but I am a bit disillusioned about the preservation and environmental movements today," he stated. "I could perhaps see myself getting into this kind of a field, but I am not sure if it would be from a scientific, policy or legal side. I would definitely have to find an organization which agrees with my personal philosophies on the subject - something I have been unable to do as of yet," he noted.
He particularly enjoyed the course on Global Environmental Law and Sustainable Development, taught by Jim Blackburn, an environmental lawyer in Houston. Robson says the course was Interesting, informative, and Professor Blackburn was incredibly passionate about his subject.
In high school, Robson volunteered at the World Championships in Track and Field. He was part of the crew that set up the starting blocks for the sprint races. It was a great job for him, because he got to be at track level for all the races.
Robson remembers, "It was incredible to watch some of the best athletes in the world compete and it made quite an impression on me as a junior in high school. I certainly liked running a lot before then, but I think that was the beginning of my desire to run at Worlds myself."
Last summer, Robson interned at Walter P. Moore. He says the experience was excellent, giving him a lot of insight into how the engineering world works outside the classroom.
Looking ahead, Robson sees more running in his future.
"I really have difficultly seeing myself working a `normal' job. I want to take running as far as I can after college - the time frame for pursuing athletic endeavors is rather narrow. My only limiting factors would be injuries and money.
When running is finished, in 8 or so years, Robson says he is split in terms of what he will do.
"Part of me wants to stay in athletics and put some of what I have learnt back into the sport, be it via coaching or another role such as revamping the bureaucratic institution known as Athletics Canada. However, the other part of me would like to do something environmentally motivated, most likely overseas in Asia, Africa or South America. These regions are where the greatest losses of biodiversity are occurring, and I could see myself working in opposition to the companies destroying these lands." said Robson.
Regardless of what path Robson takes in the coming years, he is destined to be one of Tomorrow's Leaders.