Carl Johan Casten Carlberg is Uppsala Student of 2019

19 November 2019

Carl Johan Casten Carlberg received the scholarship at the Anders Wall lecture.

This year’s Uppsala Student of the Year is in his seventh semester of the Master’s Programme in Sociotechnical Systems Engineering. Alongside his studies, he has been a powerful driving force, on a volunteer basis, in the Engineer to Engineer integration project and also done voluntary work for Snerikes nation.

The Uppsala Student of the Year scholarship is awarded by the Anders Wall Foundation. Under its Statutes, those eligible are students who have developed entrepreneurship in connection with their education; distinguished themselves by their good, creative contributions to the University; taken part in the Student Union and/or student nation activities; or made special efforts in support of other students.

“It’s an incredible pleasure and honour to receive the award. It also feels that great trust has been placed in me, and I want to uphold it by continuing to be involved in the issues I’m passionate about,” says Carl Johan Casten Carlberg, who is spending this semester as an exchange student in Valencia, Spain.

Ever since his third week at the University, he has been intensely involved in Engineer to Engineer, a committee of the Engineers Without Borders organisation. These days, Carl Johan is also an elected member of Engineers Without Borders’ national steering group.

How come you’re particularly passionate about Engineer to Engineer?

“Because it’s terrible when people have to suffer from circumstances they can’t influence. Within Engineer to Engineer, we’ve been able to help asylum seekers enter the labour market and get clear results in the form of happy people. It was amazing! The group’s involvement is also captivating, which made every meeting fun.”

An exchange year in Ecuador while Carl Johan was at upper secondary school left a strong impression on him. It opened his eyes to people’s differing prospects in life, and inspired his commitment to make a difference. Later, while backpacking in South America, his former ‘host city’ was hit by a severe earthquake. He travelled there and organised a relief project that raised money and bought basic supplies.

“When the earthquake hit Ecuador, the UNHCR (the UN refugee agency) and the Red Cross were on the spot very rapidly and did a hugely important job. Since then, my dream has been to work for a UN body, but in a role where I can use my skills as an interdisciplinary engineer. But I have many dreams and, as long as I get to do something where I feel I can help improve society, I’m open to most ideas.”

What’s your advice to other students wishing to get involved in vital issues durig their studies?

“Try things out. Find an issue you’re passionate about and a group that’s working on it. If there isn’t one, create one. The great thing about student life is that no one knows anything from the beginning: no one expects you to know anything when you start. Follow your gut feeling and you’ll learn as you go along!”