Driven to support her community, Rita Bernardo is motivated to promote sustainability and social equity through her background in economics and statistics. Through UpTurnships, she completed an internship conducting competitive research for Sun Country Airlines in 2017. In 2019, Rita graduated from St. Catherine’s University, majoring in Economics with a minor in Statistics.
Currently, Rita works as a Workforce Fellow in the National Science Foundation INCLUDES SEAS Islands Alliance program at the University of Guam Center for Island Sustainability. There, she is developing the Guam Green Growth Dashboard, a project tracking the Island’s progress towards achieving its sustainability goals.
Rita works with government agencies, non-profits, and global partners to establish data collection protocols. “I have been challenged to think more openly about how data and narratives can be shared in a respectful format and the dialogue that takes place during the data collection process,” Rita says.
Growing up in Guam and later traveling abroad, she witnessed how well-designed cities can empower people to live healthier, more fulfilling lives. One day, she hopes to establish a global consultancy firm that helps islands to integrate sustainable locally informed and culturally driven urban solutions. To achieve this, she will be attending Harvard Graduate School of Design in the Fall to pursue a Master’s in Urban Planning.
To current UpTurns, Rita says, “You may be surprised at how prepared you have become at the end of the program and the ability you have to take on opportunities that you least expect,” She points to salary negotiation, resume building, PDIA, and networking as skills UpTurnships taught which have been beneficial to her professional development.