On September 16th, Oluseyi Fayanju, a graduate of the M.A. in Climate and Society program, spoke with current undergraduate students about his studies at Columbia and the professional experiences that led him to the Environmental Defense Fund.
Although he originally planned to focus on climate change and energy after studying at the Earth Institute, Oluseyi found a new path working on ecosystem restoration at the Environmental Defense Fund. He arrived as a land, water, and wildlife program fellow in the organization’s Mississippi River Delta Restoration Program, where he was soon involved in efforts to establish linkages between sustainable ecosystem management and economic growth in southern Louisiana. Soon after starting, he and several colleagues at the Environmental Defense Fund launched Restoration and Resilience, a blog highlighting green jobs in wetland rehabilitation and hazard mitigation in Louisiana’s coastal zone. The goal of the blog is to engage the public in finding solutions for wetlands issues, a topic that gained added urgency after the BP oil spill hit the Gulf Coast.
Oluseyi said his background in economics and data analysis helped him to get his foot in the door. He found a way to make his skills and previous experience in finance fit the needs of his environmental advocacy job, and he offered students some very useful tips on how they could do the same as they pursue careers in sustainable development. He also encouraged them to be flexible and to think about the locations where they would like to be and the types of organizations where they would love to work, whether they were non-profit groups, private companies, or governments.
This was the first of six brown bag talks being hosted by the Undergraduate Program in Sustainable Development this fall. These events take place every other Friday from noon-1 p.m. in the Schapiro Room (8th floor) of the Alumni Center. For more information and to RSVP for upcoming events, please visit our website or contact Jessica Crespo at firstname.lastname@example.org.