Print

Sage Hill student Katelyn Gan earns coveted Dragon Kim Fellowship

Katelyn Gan,15, a ninth grader and member of the Sage Hill High School class of 2025, has recently been named a 2022 Dragon Fellow by the Dragon Kim Foundation, a nonprofit entrepreneurship incubator that supports community service projects implemented by Orange County high school students. 

Her timely Dragon Fellowship project, called E-liminating E-waste, is dedicated to raising awareness about the detrimental effects of electronic waste (e-waste) on the environment by collecting e-waste from around the community including batteries, cellular phones, computers, and other types of electronic waste.

Sage Hill student Katelyn Gan

Click on photo for a larger image

Submitted photo

Katelyn Gan

She and her volunteer team are setting up more than 50 recycling locations scattered around Orange County, making it more convenient to recycle and learn about e-waste. Additionally, on Saturday, June 25, from 12- 2 p.m., the public is invited to bring e-waste to the Dragon Kim Foundation offices at 5151 California Avenue, Irvine for proper disposal. As an incentive, she will exchange two pounds of e-waste for each raffle ticket. Prizes will include rechargeable batteries, a HyperX gaming headset, and more. To RSVP, visit tinyurl.com/elimewaste.

“I’ve always liked sharing stories, ideas and jokes, and when I saw that people weren’t doing enough to combat e-waste, the fastest growing stream of waste, I knew I had to share this initiative of recycling e-waste. It gives people the opportunity to learn about and recycle their electronic waste that could’ve gone to the landfills. It honestly means the world when I hear from friends and neighbors that they would’ve thrown away those products if not for me,” said Gan.

According to the United Nations’ Global E-waste Monitor report, a record 53.6 million metric tons (Mt) of electronic waste was generated worldwide in 2019, up 21 percent in just five years. 

The new report also predicts global e-waste – discarded products with a battery or plug will reach 74 Mt by 2030, almost doubling the amount of e-waste in just 16 years. This makes e-waste the world’s fastest-growing domestic waste stream, fueled mainly by higher consumption rates of electric and electronic equipment, short lifecycles and few options for repair. 

Gan’s fellowship includes three weekends of leadership training, hands-on guidance from a mentor and a $5,000 grant to help her continue to implement her project in the community during this summer. Her mentor is Nathalie Gravel of Kingston Technology. Collectively, the projects have the potential of benefiting thousands of people, including many living in challenged neighborhoods.

The fellowship was founded in 2015 in honor of the late Dragon Kim, a talented young musician, athlete and scholar who wanted to help others. It has become a seedbed for the next generation of creative thinkers and entrepreneurs who want to create positive change. For more information, visit http://dragonkimfoundation.org.