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Alumni spotlights and updates

Alumni spotlights and updates

Alumni spotlights and updates

Success stories

Cultivating growth and experience: The Farm at South Mountain internship program

February 12, 2019

Matthew Waldman headshotOriginally studying to become a civil engineer, Matthew Waldman was so inspired by a sustainable neighborhoods urban development class that he changed his major to sustainability at Arizona State University.

As a School of Sustainability student, Waldman was able to participate in first-hand experiential learning opportunities that allowed him to serve the community while gaining real-world experience. He said his most meaningful opportunity was his internship at The Farm at South Mountain.

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Meet sustainability alumnus Nathan Gassmann

February 11, 2019

Nathan GassmannIt took 10 years for Nathan Gassmann to get his bachelor’s degree — the “scenic route,” as he called it. But finally getting that diploma in 2014 from the School of Sustainability at Arizona State University was the result of a lot of hard work, persistence, and balancing responsibilities as a parent, student and employee.

Gassmann recently landed a job as Subway’s manager of global sustainability, and he said he’s excited to enact change at a large scale. His advice for all Sun Devils is to challenge themselves.

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Alumna lands job as sustainability manager

January 23, 2019

Debbie NamugayiCongratulations to Arizona State University School of Sustainability alumna Debbie Namugayi, who in early 2019 started work as Eastern Kentucky University’s new sustainability manager. Namugayi earned her master's degree in sustainability in 2014, and has a history of connecting sustainability with higher education through prior positions at Bucknell University and the University of Maryland.

On top of accomplishment, Namugayi recently acted as the master of ceremonies for the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education 2018 conferences.

Photo courtesy of Amanda Cain, Eastern Kentucky University

Meet Executive Master of Sustainability Leadership alumna Julie Hopwood

November 29, 2018

Julie HopwoodYou might think that a mostly-online graduate program would be impersonal. But, as Arizona State University alumna Julie Hopwood tells it, that’s far from the case with the Executive Master of Sustainability Leadership from the School of Sustainability. As she described in her Q&A below, Hopwood was impressed with the emphasis on both personal and professional development throughout the one-year program. Plus, she became quite close with her cohort and still talks to them regularly.

“Whether we were seeking professional clarification, direction and impact in our current positions, immediate career advancement, transition to a new industry and/or the elusive dream of combining our personal and professional passions, I truly believe that my fellow cohort members and I graduated from the EMSL program feeling that our mission was, and can always be, accomplished,” Hopwood said.

In her Q&A, Hopwood — who is currently the associate vice president for business and auxiliary services at Ball State University, Indiana — discussed how she learned and grew as a sustainability leader through the EMSL.

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Meet sustainability alumna René Edde

November 14, 2018

René Edde stands near outdoor stairwayRené Edde, senior business development manager of coffee for Fair Trade USA, initially thought that the Executive Master of Sustainability Leadership might just be a good resume builder. But it turned out to be a transformational experience.

“I grew into my shoes as a leader,” Edde said. “I learned to embrace my authentic self both in my career and in my personal life. I began to believe that I had the power to make a difference with every decision that I make.”

In the following Q&A, Edde explains what she learned from the EMSL, how she balanced classwork with her career, and how the EMSL has given her the knowledge and confidence to pursue her dreams.

What was your “aha” moment when you realized you wanted to study sustainability?

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Meet sustainability alumnus Tyler Sytsma

November 6, 2018

Tyler SytsmaTyler Sytsma has not one but two degrees from Arizona State University’s School of Sustainability — a bachelor’s degree and an Executive Master of Sustainability Leadership. He graduated with his EMSL in January 2016 and quickly landed a job as a sustainability coordinator for the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

Sytsma answered a few questions for us about his journey in sustainability and his experience with the EMSL. Read his Q&A below.

What was your “aha” moment when you realized you wanted to study sustainability?

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Meet Executive Master of Sustainability Leadership alumna Antonia Castro-Graham

October 31, 2018

Woman with blond hair smilingAntonia Castro-Graham decided to pursue her Executive Master of Sustainability Leadership from Arizona State University after a careful search of different programs. It makes sense that she wanted to invest her time and money wisely — she already had a full-time job, an adjunct professorship at California State University, Fullerton, and a two-year-old.

“I wanted a degree that would propel me to the next level,” she said. “EMSL enabled me to broaden my skill set.”

In the Q&A below, Castro-Graham — who works for the city of Huntington Beach, California as the assistant to the city manager and the energy and sustainability manager — talks about her experience as an EMSL student and explains how the master’s degree has allowed her to become more successful as a sustainability professional.

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Meet our 2018 Outstanding Alumni Award nominees

October 29, 2018

Rob Melnick bestowing with the Outstanding Alumnus AwardOn November 2, during Arizona State University homecoming weekend, the School of Sustainability will bestow one alumnus with the 2018 Outstanding Alumnus Award. With so many incredible nominees, it’s going to be a hard decision to make.

If you’re an alumnus, we invite you to join us for the alumni reception mixer at Postino in Tempe from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., where we will announce the winner (please RSVP). But first, check out the seven nominees — in alphabetical order:

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Meet sustainability alumnus Michael Herod

September 20, 2018

Smiling man with glasses and red collared shirtMichael Herod has two degrees from the School of Sustainability: a bachelor of science and an Executive Master of Sustainability Leadership. But Herod didn’t enroll in sustainability because of a passion for the environment or for the health of communities around the world, as many students do. Herod initially pursued sustainability to prove his boss wrong and to do something beneficial with a “pocket full of Uncle Sam’s money” after returning from Iraq with the U.S. Army.

During his last undergraduate semester, Herod had a realization that inspired him to pursue the EMSL, and then to start a successful business called GOEFER that allows people and businesses to monitor and save on their energy use through advanced power strips. Read on for more about Herod’s journey and how he got the idea for his business.

Question: What was your “aha” moment when you realized you wanted to study sustainability?

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Meet sustainability alumnus Sean McGraw

August 28, 2018

Sean McGraw FOR EnergySchool of Sustainability alumnus Sean McGraw founded FOR Energy while he was still an ASU student, and now it’s among the fastest-growing companies in the United States (number 1,215 to be exact, according to Inc. Magazine’s annual list). FOR Energy helps homeowners in Arizona and Nevada use energy more efficiently by conducting energy audits and completing home improvements — things like installing solar panels or energy-efficient windows, sealing leaky ducts, and improving insulation. The company’s 2017 revenue was $2.2 million — not bad for an idea that came to McGraw one day in a renewable energy class at ASU.

Read on for why McGraw switched his major to sustainability and what he believes is the most important factor that has contributed to FOR Energy’s success.

Question: What was your “aha” moment when you realized you wanted to study sustainability?

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