Student Profile: Erin Stahmer

by |January 22, 2014

During my time at Columbia, the Undergraduate Program in Sustainable Development has challenged me to take courses that have sharpened my philosophical, mathematical, and scientific modes of thinking. I have learned to organize and manipulate large databases using spatial mapping software, and have developed quantitative methods to analyze data in the context of international development. Additionally, I have had to design and execute projects dealing with real-world issues, both within a group and independently.

After the cholera outbreak that followed the earthquake in Haiti, I had the opportunity to assemble health data into geographic maps that were posted in Haiti’s Red Cross offices. In the process of creating these maps, I geo-located villages and small towns in southern Haiti that did not previously exist in the dataset, and conducted predictive hotspot analyses to determine where the cholera outbreak may spread next. The resources that I produced were used to supplement relief planning in the country.

Outside of class I am Co-President of NOM^3, a student-run catering group that features seasonal and healthy food with an emphasis on sustainability and food education. Following graduation, I will begin working as a consultant for IBM. After interning there last summer, I became very interested in IBM’s Smarter Planet campaign, and my goal is to become more involved in the Smarter Planet initiatives once I begin full-time employment. Moving forward, I hope to use the problem-solving skills I’ve learned through the sustainable development program to address environmental issues both domestically and globally.

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