On Friday, February 28th, the All Ivy Environmental and Sustainable Development Career Fair marked its eleventh year. The eight Ivy League schools – Brown, Cornell, Columbia, Dartmouth, Harvard, Princeton, the University of Pennsylvania, and Yale – teamed up once again to host the fair at Columbia University in New York City. This year’s event attracted 69 recruiting organizations, and over 900 students and alumni. For students in Columbia University’s M.S. in Sustainability Management program, the fair was an opportunity to meet with both sustainability-focused employers and more than a few familiar faces from the program.
As Head of Sustainability for JetBlue Airways, current Master of Science in Sustainability Management student Sophia Mendelsohn is responsible for reducing the environmental impact of one of the largest airlines in North America. While this can be a challenge, the financial and scientific skills she has gained through the program provide her with a solid foundation upon which to base the company’s sustainability initiatives.
When four Master of Science in Sustainability Management students landed in Podgorica, Montenegro in January, they were carrying an energy efficiency plan that promised to save the country money and energy, and to create jobs. These benefits would come from the energy retrofitting of some 100,000 buildings that have sprouted without permits in the last twenty years. In this building frenzy, people have overlooked building codes, including energy efficiency measures.
After three years working with the Peace Corps in Madagascar, Master of Public Administration in Environmental Science and Policy student Jonathan Mason came to Columbia with a strong background in research and writing, but limited experience in quantitative analysis. As he begins his final semester, he reflects that the quantitative and project management skills he has acquired through the program have prepared him to become a more incisive contributor to policy planning.
Prior to joining the Master of Science in Sustainability Management program in the fall of 2011, Katrina Prutzman (’14) worked as a manufacturing process engineer for 3M Purification, Inc. where she implemented manufacturing improvements and developed new production processes in the making of a variety of filtration products. While a student in the program, Katrina spent the summer of 2013 as an EDF Climate Corps Fellow, using the technical skills that she had gained through her experience with manufacturing and engineering to identify energy saving initiatives for Union Pacific Railroad. Currently, Katrina works for Urban Green Energy, a distributed renewable energy provider, where she is responsible for ensuring the consistent product quality at the company’s vertical axis wind turbine manufacturing facility in East Asia.
Megatrends, such as population growth and resource depletion, are creating business opportunities that could yield profit and environmental and social benefits, according to Jonathan Rose, the real estate developer and pioneer in green building and sustainable community development. Rose recently spoke to a packed room of students and guests, as part of the Practicum in Innovative Sustainability Management, a new course. He pointed to recycling and the mining of trash for metals, as examples of enterprises that would gain value in a world where both consumption and the cost of raw materials are increasing.
MPA in Environmental Science and Policy alum Maham Ahmed (’13) is combining her undergraduate degree in Environmental Science with her new MPA degree while serving as a Presidential Management Fellow at the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in Washington D.C. Maham hopes to bring change to disaster response and recovery for future generations.
Companies are coming under increasing pressure to reduce the environmental harm of their products, according to Al Iannuzzi, senior director of environment, health and sustainability at Johnson & Johnson. For his firm, the decisive turning point came when Walmart, the largest single buyer of Johnson & Johnson products, demanded greener products of its suppliers, Iannuzzi told students on Feb. 5 at the Practicum in Innovative Sustainability Leadership, a new course in the M.S. in Sustainability Management program at Columbia University.
Students in a new sustainability course this semester are learning directly from practitioners who are transforming cities, changing the ways private firms do business, and improving people’s lives. They are leaders, such as Katherine Gajewski, Philadelphia’s sustainability director, who spent an hour with students on a recent Wednesday evening, discussing the strategies she uses to make that city one of the greenest in the country.
Lindsey Clark originally joined the Master of Science in Sustainability Management program with the intention of going into sustainability consulting after graduation, but an internship with Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center led to an unexpected opportunity.