Kelsea Siter ’20 explores Smart Cities through Magellan Project

Created: August 12, 2019  |  Last Updated: December 2, 2019  |  Category:   |  Tagged: ,

WASHINGTON, PA (Aug. 12, 2019)—Washington & Jefferson College (W&J) has a long history of researching and embracing sustainable practices, and senior Kelsea Siter ’20 is taking that relationship one step further.

The public policy major and history minor is taking advantage of W&J’s Magellan Project to travel to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to learn about smart cities in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

“I have always been interested in the environment and animals since I was young, and I wanted to go out of my comfort zone to study something I love across the world,” Kelsea said. “I also took a sociology class taught by [W&J’s Center for Energy Policy Management Director] Corey Young where we talked about climate change, mitigation, and smart cities that inspired me to plan my Magellan.”

Kelsea chose Abu Dhabi and Dubai because of the cities’ reputations for supporting environmentally friendly policies and sustainable practices. Abu Dhabi’s Masdar City, home to 50,000 people, is one of the most sustainable urban communities on the planet with a focus on energy and water conservation. Dubai’s Sustainable City is the first zero-energy city in Dubai, featuring 11 greenhouses, few farms for local food production, 500 villas and townhouses, charging stations for electric cars, and waste water recycling.

“I wanted to pick a place that had both a city and beach so I could study both environments and see what efforts the UAE is taking to combat their environmental issues,” she said.

Kelsea’s experiences at W&J have prepared her for a future in environmental policy. She’s learned a lot in her classes, including environmental knowledge and Arabic, and traveled with the College to Greece to gain a global perspective.

“My W&J education has encouraged me to travel and experience cultures that are different from what I know,” Kelsea said. “My independent research gives me the opportunity to get experience studying something that I will have a career in in the future.”

Learn more about Kelsea’s experience through her Magellan Project blog.

About Washington & Jefferson College

Washington & Jefferson College, located in Washington, Pa., is a selective liberal arts college founded in 1781. Committed to providing each of its students with the highest-quality undergraduate education available, W&J offers a traditional arts and sciences curriculum emphasizing interdisciplinary study and independent study work. For more information about W&J, visit, or call 888-W-AND-JAY.