She’s a STEM Scholar, a polyglot, and an athlete. Carolina Warneryd ‘19 is one of the most exceptional students at St. Luke’s and an inspiration for underclassmen. To show the St. Luke’s community what truly makes Carolina unique, the Sentinel staff decided to profile her as an outstanding senior.
Outside of school, Carolina loves trying new foods and sharing them with friends via social media. She runs an Instagram account, @introverted_eats, where she posts about new foods she’s tried and recommends everything from tacos to bubble tea. Also, Carolina combines her entrepreneurial side and her love for art projects through sewing.
“I have a little business selling stuffed cacti that I hand-sew, and sometimes on the weekends I will sew when I need a break from homework,” Carolina shares.
Carolina is a polyglot, as she studies both French and Spanish at St. Luke’s and speaks Swedish with her family. She appreciates her family’s culture because she has visited Sweden every summer since she was two years old.
“I’ve had a lot of exposure to Swedish culture and feel very connected to my heritage,” she adds. “I’d like to say I’m conversationally fluent in Swedish – I can’t spell for my life, but I can speak the language pretty well.”
Speaking Swedish is also a useful tool for Carolina and her sister, Amelie ‘20, but not in the way that one might expect.
“Amelie and I always speak it when we play doubles together for the tennis team, because it really freaks out our opponents!” Carolina reveals.
Deceiving Storm opponents is just one of Carolina’s most beloved memories of St. Luke’s.
“There are so many I don’t even know where to start,” she says. “A highlight was definitely when Ms. Spencer turned off the lights and jumped on the table in the middle of math class to demonstrate a confusing calculus problem. ‘Poems and Sweets’ at Mrs. Doran’s house was also so much fun – she makes incredible cheesecake.”
While Carolina has excelled academically, her success has not been easy to achieve. It has required hard work and long hours. Thus, when asked for her advice for SLS underclassmen, Carolina recommended that students organize their work in order to maximize productivity.
“Staying motivated can be very hard, so I always try to work towards a goal, like, “I can take a break when I finish XYZ,” Carolina shares. “I also make a schedule to help me stay organized, and I enjoy checking off tasks I’ve accomplished – it makes big assignments seem more manageable.”
In addition, Carolina implored underclassmen not to think about college until after sophomore year.
“It’s more important to spend time figuring out what you like to do, what classes interest you, and what makes you really excited – that’s what college admissions officers want to see anyway on your application, and it will help you no matter where you end up,” she advises.
Carolina’s magnum opus at St. Luke’s was her senior STEM Scholars project, Engineering a Sanitation Solution for the Guatemala City Dump.
“In this context, ‘sanitation solution’ is really just a fancy phrase for ‘toilet,’ which is the true focus of my project,” Carolina explained during her Scholars presentation. “As unconventional a topic as this may seem . . . I think this project is a good reminder that problem solving can be very messy sometimes, and that we can’t simply ignore a pressing issue just because our society finds it uncomfortable to address – a lot of people around the world don’t have that same luxury.”
Carolina’s research project was inspired by a service trip she took to Guatemala during the summer after her sophomore year.
“After spending time in the Guatemala City Dump and realizing the serious sanitation crisis that the community faces, I felt compelled to try to find a solution to the situation, and thus came up with the idea to create a toilet,” Carolina shares.
This year, Carolina conducted research and experiments to build a waterless, portable, and individual toilet which can kill potentially dangerous bacteria without requiring regular maintenance or extra materials. Carolina asserted that a toilet could help reduce disease and poverty, as well as stop violence against women traveling to public toilet facilities; therefore, she explains, “privacy becomes a form of safety.” As Carolina noted in her presentation, a seemingly simple sanitation device can help preserve dignity and well-being.
Even though the SLS Scholars Symposium has passed, Carolina is not abandoning her research.
“I am by no means finished with my project – I plan to continue it in college and hope to actually implement the design someday,” Carolina shares.
Carolina will certainly have the resources to do so, as she will begin studying at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the fall.
“Walking on the MIT campus, I felt like I’d found my home,” Carolina shares. “[My family and I] attended an information session, where the admissions officer asked questions like ‘Do you enjoy Legos?’ and ‘Do you want to build things that help people?’ and my answer to all of those questions was an enthusiastic yes! The more I learned about MIT, the more it became my dream school.”
Carolina hopes to study mechanical engineering and possibly minor in Spanish while still trying to maintain her coding and computer science abilities. Before heading to MIT, though, Carolina wants to hike in the Swiss Alps and enjoy the small things like spending time with family, learning to cook, and cleaning out her closets.
However, leaving St. Luke’s will not be easy for Carolina.
“Looking back on my years in high school, I can’t imagine a better place for me. St. Luke’s has helped me grow enormously and it’s going to be very hard leaving. I’ll always be grateful for everything this school has given me.”
Carolina’s work ethic, kindness, and curiosity make her an exemplary St. Luke’s student and citizen, and a role model who underclassmen should strive to emulate. She will be dearly missed next year, and although they may not know her personally, future St. Luke’s classes will feel the impact of her hard work and philanthropy.