Rather than spending his free time sampling bangers and mash in a pub or snapping pictures from the London Eye, a UC Berkeley junior will be visiting England this summer with a much more unique itinerary.
Nineteen-year-old Fremont native Kylan Nieh, who will be a junior at UC Berkeley this fall and is studying computer science and business administration, is one of 22 Americans chosen to participate in the Olympic Torch Relay kicking off the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in England. The Coca-Cola Company chose Nieh from a group of teenagers nominated for their civic leadership in their local community.
Prior to attending UC Berkeley, Nieh was both the valedictorian and student body president at Mission San Jose High School.
In addition to launching numerous projects throughout his high school career, such as a canned food drive, Nieh began two nonprofit organizations.
“My philosophy is that by finding a platform to serve others, something good will come back to you, and if you do something you are passionate about, you will get happiness out of it,” Nieh said. “I am passionate about helping others and thus it brings me great happiness to do so.”
Nieh currently teaches a public speaking and leadership DeCal in order to extend his leadership skills to his peers. This fall will mark Nieh’s fourth semester teaching the class.
Nieh’s former student, incoming ASUC Academic Affairs Vice President Natalie Gavello, said she admires Nieh and is grateful for the encouragement that has she received from him in the past.
“Kylan is an inspiring leader and a gem of a human being,” Gavello said in an email. “Not only did he fuel my love of public speaking but he encouraged me to follow my heart and run for office.”
Because Coca-Cola is an official sponsor of the Olympic Games, the company selected 22 Americans to be torchbearers. Ten teenagers, including Nieh, were selected because they represent numerous charities and organizations which have largely contributed to society, according to the press release from Coca-Cola.
The Olympic torch relay began on May 19 and will continue until July 27. The 22 American torchbearers are scheduled to carry the Olympic flame from July 9 to July 11 in the vicinity of Oxford and Nieh will carry the flame on the last day through the city of Andover, England.
Celeste Bottorff, the vice president of Coca-Cola North America’s Living Well program, said in the press release that she hopes that others will be inspired by the torchbearers to give back to their world and be inspirations themselves.
“We now hope their participation in the London 2012 Olympic Torch Relay will motivate others around the world to make a positive difference in their communities,” Bottorff said in the press release.