Graduate Profile: One Small Steppe at Georgia Tech
A team of Georgia Tech students an ambulance nearly 11,000 miles from Brussels, Belgium to Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia prior to their final semester. The journey took them to 21 countries and ended with a donation of the ambulance to the local community.
Driving more than 10,000 miles might not seem like one small step, but that’s what Tony Chirumble and Rohan Iyer did last summer.
They were among a team of five Georgia Tech students, called One Small Steppe, who embarked on the journey of a lifetime for charity. The Mongolia Charity Rally — which began in London and finished in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia — raised money for Go Help, a U.K.-based group that provides health outreach and educational opportunities in Central Asia and Central America.
When they finished the journey, the team donated their vehicle — a manual 2009 Ford Transit 3.2L Ambulance — so that it could be used as an ambulance in Mongolia.
Iyer, who just graduated with a degree in industrial engineering, said one of the trip’s highlights occurred in Switzerland when they connected with a friend, a Georgia Tech graduate, working on his Ph.D. The friend gave them a tour that included seeing a particle accelerator.
“Being the Georgia Tech nerds that we are, we got to nerd out for a day on vacation which was pretty cool,” said Iyer, who was president of Georgia Tech’s Interfraternity Council this year.
During the trip, the group learned how to maintain the car and overcame language and cultural barriers to interact with strangers.
“It taught me how to be a really creative communicator,” said Chirumble, who just graduated with a degree in mechanical engineering. “I think you definitely grow the most when you push yourself outside your comfort zone, so I would definitely say you should go study abroad and go try new things, things you wouldn’t normally do, and get uncomfortable and learn something about yourself.”