Striving for sustenance through politics and science

Arianna Bayangos, Scot Scoop News Editor

While many at Carlmont are passionate about spreading environmental awareness, senior James Xie intends to pursue a career in which he can further research the field of sustainable energy.

Xie said, “Somebody has to do the [research] and I find it fun and exciting. It’s a cold field so there’s a lot of potential for discovery, [and] the chances of me making an actual impact are big.”


Xie’s interest in environmental issues first began freshman year as he was preparing for a debate. The first debate question was, “Do First World countries have the obligation to mitigate the effects of climate change?” Xie spent hours researching the topic and became more and more interested in environmental issues.

However, Xie found himself unable to make an impact on field science at this age. Xie said, “I don’t limit myself just to science. I am politically active to also contribute to environmental efforts. I’m well rounded, and I’m willing to do whatever I can to make the biggest impact with the resources I have. At my age, I can’t vote and do a lot of stuff adults can so I try to do the best I can with what I have.”

His peers see the passion in his work. Senior Brian Lee said, “I admire how he’s so focused on what he’s doing. He always puts 100 percent into what he does.”

During his sophomore year, Xie interned for Cameron Johnson, who was running for San Carlos City Council. Along with other students, he went door to door to pitch for Johnson. His experience through the internship proved invaluable to him; he learned that “not enough people appreciate democracy and are politically involved enough to make decisions that affect their lives in a rational manner.”

This motivated him to increase political awareness among the student body. Along with seniors Max Ware and Alan Yan, who also interned for Johnson, Xie founded the Junior Statesmen of America chapter at Carlmont. 

This year, Xie has been more involved politically while advocating environmental policies in the area. Along with the Sierra Club Forest Protection Committee, Xie is trying to pass a resolution that would ban clearcutting, a practice in which most trees in a certain area are uniformly cut down.

This summer, Xie was able to learn more about the career path he wishes to pursue. For six weeks, he interned at Boston University where he did a nine-step synthesis of polcyclic xanthone natural product analogues, an antibiotic with anti-cancer properties.

The internship solidified his interests in chemistry and in the field of sustainable energy. Xie said, “The main reason why I’m passionate about the field of sustainable energy is because I find the branches that are connected to it fun. [It] wouldn’t be so much as a job for me as it would an activity or hobby.”


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