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Sustainability alumnus named to Greenbiz '30 Under 30'

Board Letter ASU Wrigley Institute News LightWorks News Alumni News Alumni and Student Spotlights

June 5, 2017

Samson Szeto, communications program coordinator of ASU LightWorks, has been named to the 2017 GreenBiz "30 Under 30." The list honors young corporate sustainability professionals who strive to make an impact in their workplace and the world, and Szeto is doing just that.

Szeto, who graduated from ASU’s School of Sustainability in 2013, was nominated by his supervisor Travis Johnson, project and business development manager at LightWorks. He was recognized for his work on several renewable energy projects – including NEPTUNE – and his involvement with carbon capture technology.

The NEPTUNE project, a joint venture with the U.S. Navy and six other universities, trains veterans for careers in the energy sector. Szeto’s work with carbon capture technology involves creating strategic partnerships that unite corporations with ASU researchers working to halt climate change.

"Samson is passionate about driving innovation and sustainability into businesses and society," says Johnson. "I’m proud of him for being honored with the 30 Under 30 award, and I am sure he will continue changing the world."

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Fishing for answers in Phoenix's urban lakes

Board Letter School of Sustainability News ASU Wrigley Institute News Alumni News Alumni and Student Spotlights

May 23, 2017

A "No Fishing" sign in an urban lakeA recent study on fishing in Phoenix found that, of the anglers surveyed at six urban lakes, the majority reported eating recreationally-caught fishes even though they thought the water might be polluted.

Erin Pulford – a School of Sustainability graduate – is the lead author of the study, which was published in the Journal of Environmental Management. Based on Pulford's Master of Sustainability Solutions project with advisor Beth Polidoro, the study found varying levels of organic contaminants in surface water samples collected from the six urban lakes where anglers were surveyed.

The study bears particular significance to low-income and high-minority neighborhoods, where most of the city's recreational fisheries lakes and ponds are located. The results can be used to inform policies, improve water quality and support further research in order to reduce potential risks to public health.

Meet Our Alumni: Chris Chappell

School of Sustainability News Alumni News Alumni and Student Spotlights

March 31, 2017

Chris Chappell graduated from the School of Sustainability in 2012 with a Bachelor's of Science, focusing on Sustainable Ecosystems. Chappell is currently the Social Media Coordinator for the Arizona Wilderness Brewing Company in Gilbert, Arizona, where he acts as both a communications hub and resident photographer for the brewery.

Chappell educates the public, as well as his fellow brewery staff, about the story of every beer: from its locally-sourced ingredients, to its deliciously brewed end.

Where are you working now?

Arizona Wilderness is a very fast-paced brewery in the sense that we have five daily food specials, weekly beer tappings and weekly bottle/can releases. Most of these beers and food specials utilize local ingredients, either sourced from a local farmer or even ethically foraged by our brewers, or have some sort of interesting story behind them. It is my job to gather all of the information on these and convey it to the public, via social media, and to our amazing staff.

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Fostering sustainability and forging connections in Guatemala

School of Sustainability News ASU Wrigley Institute News Alumni News

November 1, 2016

Room of Guatemalan schoolchildren wearing uniformsGuatemala is consistently listed in the top 10 happiest countries in the world, despite the difficulties it faces with poverty and crime. To continue this trend and improve the lives of Guatemala's residents, different groups are working there – including School of Sustainability faculty, alumni and students, who have visited the country for the past two summers.

These visits yield a number of connections, like one between two alumni who were in Guatemala with different organizations and crossed paths unexpectedly. Another graduate from the School of Sustainability is currently working in Guatemala for Habitat for Humanity. A study abroad program also brought students to the country in the summer of 2015, and the faculty member who facilitated the trip – who has visited multiple times since – plans to go back again this December.

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Meet Our Alumni: Carolyn Phillips

School of Sustainability News Alumni News Alumni and Student Spotlights

September 16, 2016

Sustainability grad Carolyn wearing bright red top and holding dark red popsicleCarolyn Phillips, owner and chief alchemist of Alchemy Pops, is a 2011 Master of Arts graduate of the School of Sustainability. Her company is based in Texas, and focuses on creating new market opportunities for Texas farmers. She is one of many entrepreneurs who graduate with a degree from the School of Sustainability.

Why did you choose to enroll in the School of Sustainability at ASU? 

In my undergrad, while I was doing my BA in Entrepreneurial Management at Texas Christian University, I took a sustainability-themed graduate level class called “Chasing Carbon” – that got me charted on a path that interested me.

There’s always been a theme in my family and community of support about being a part of the solution. This can be interpreted in a lot of different ways – one being, "if you’re not helping, you’re hurting." Being someone who has an impact and is improving lives is the general theme guiding my trajectory.

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A glimpse into life after graduation

School of Sustainability News Alumni News

September 7, 2016

Student standing in food bank pantryFor its third consecutive year, the School of Sustainability offers its students a hands-on look into what their future might hold with a career in sustainability.

The Alumni Job Shadowing program, which began in 2014 and continues to grow, gives current students the opportunity to interact with and shadow a School of Sustainability alumnus for a day. The program provides students with insight into not only future career possibilities, but also into the world of professionalism, networking and higher education. Students receive one-on-one attention from their alumni sponsors and can see how their classes apply in the working world.

“This job shadow gave me great insight into how my sustainability degree can be used in a real-world job. This opportunity has rejuvenated my interest in getting a job where I can apply the knowledge I gained from my classes… I believe it has made me confident as a student that my degree is such an intricate part of how a business operates,” says Adrian Nunez, a School of Sustainability Bachelor of Science student.

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Meet Our Alumni: Manjyot Bhan

School of Sustainability News Alumni News Alumni and Student Spotlights

June 30, 2016

Manj wearing white collared topManjyot Bhan – a native of Mumbai, India – graduated from the School of Sustainability with a Master of Science in 2010. She also earned a PhD in Public Administration, with a focus on Environmental Policy, from American University in 2015.

Bhan is currently a Policy and Business Fellow at a think-tank called the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES) – formerly the Pew Center on Global Climate Change – in Arlington, Virginia.

Why did you choose ASU's School of Sustainability?

During an environmental economics undergraduate class at St. Xavier’s College in Mumbai, I realized all our assumptions in textbook economics and of the marketplace were made based on private costs – without accounting for other costs such as environmental, social and health damages to society. My desire to pursue the field of sustainability came out of a classroom experience.

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Sustainability alumni connect in the District

School of Sustainability News Alumni News

June 25, 2016

Eight School of Sustainability pose with Dean Boone outside of a D.C. restaurantOn June 10, School of Sustainability alumni in the Washington, D.C. area connected and caught up over dinner at Ardeo+Bardeo.

The fantastic evening, hosted by the School of Sustainability Alumni Association, was attended by Dean Chris Boone and eight sustainability grads, including Manjyot Bhan, MS '10; Chris Harto, MS '09; Debbie Namugayi, MA '14; Becky Schwartz, BA '10; Mike Herod, EMSL '15; Brian McCollow, BA '13; Alex Rogers, MSUS '15; and Robert Horner, MS '10.

To receive invites to future events, click here to make sure your information is up-to-date and keep an eye on your email.

Meet Our Alumni: Lexie Krechel

School of Sustainability News Alumni News Alumni and Student Spotlights

June 25, 2016

Lexie standing on a desert hiking trailLexie Krechel graduated from the School of Sustainability in 2013 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in the Society and Sustainability track.

Krechel also earned a Minor in Social Work along with a Certificate in Public Administration and Management. She currently works as the Community Outreach Coordinator for the Tempe Community Action Agency.

Tell us about your current job and how it is related to sustainability.

I found my current position at Tempe Community Action Agency by looking on nonprofit job boards. I knew that I wanted to stay in the nonprofit world, but just needed to find the right organization. I decided to pursue a position at TCAA because I wanted to be able to see the impact that my work was having on the community.

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Meet Our Alumni: Marina Acosta

School of Sustainability News Alumni News Alumni and Student Spotlights

June 24, 2016

former-asu-sustainability-studentMarina Acosta graduated from the School of Sustainability in 2012 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in the Policy and Governance track. She also minored in Psychology.

Currently, Acosta is in the Master of Science Obesity Prevention and Management program at ASU.

Why did you choose Arizona State University?

ASU is my home and I couldn’t imagine going anywhere else. I did not apply for any other schools. This was close enough to my family and allowed me to experience great diversity while receiving a top-notch education. Also, I’ve always wanted to make a difference and when I learned about the School of Sustainability, I knew that there would always be something for me to do. I thought it was an innovative and fast-growing field, and I was right.

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Meet Our Alumni: Brendan Denker

School of Sustainability News Alumni News Alumni and Student Spotlights

June 14, 2016

Bendan Denker smiling with palm trees and mountains in the backgroundBrendan Denker is a Fall 2012 graduate of the School of Sustainability's Master of Science program. He also received a Bachelor of Arts in General Engineering, and a minor in French Cultural Studies from Johns Hopkins University.

Denker works as an engineer at Salt River Project, where he's been employed for the last three years. He focuses on long-term planning within the Western U.S. electric grid, represents SRP’s interests with other entities, and is involved with tracking the water-energy nexus at SRP’s power plants.

Why did you choose to study at ASU’s School of Sustainability?

I had always been interested in sustainability. I grew up immersed in recycling, composting and having empathy for others – which I always assumed was a normal, second-nature thing. However, when I got to college, it was a bit of a culture shock, because doing those things was not the norm.

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Meet Our Alumni: Jin Jo

School of Sustainability News Alumni News Alumni and Student Spotlights

June 13, 2016

Jin Jo wearing a graduation cap and regalia Jin Jo – a native of Seoul, South Korea – graduated from the School of Sustainability in 2010. He received the first PhD in sustainability and was a member of ASU's jazz band.

Jo is currently an associate professor of technology at Illinois State University and the associate director at the Center for Renewable Energy. In February 2016, he and two other faculty members at Illinois State University were recipients of the Outstanding Cross-Disciplinary Team Research Award.

Why did you choose the School of Sustainability at ASU?

I did my master’s degree at Columbia University, then applied for PhD programs at a few different places, including Columbia and Princeton. Although I was admitted to another university, I found the School of Sustainability was a perfect fit for what I had in mind – to explore a variety of strategies to achieve urban system sustainability.

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Leading the way to a sustainable future: Andrew Krause

School of Sustainability News Alumni News Alumni and Student Spotlights

May 18, 2016

sustainability-alum-andrew-krauseAndrew Krause is a two-time graduate of the School of Sustainability. He was a member of the first cohort of graduating undergraduates in 2009, and also received a Master of Science in 2012.

Andrew is now the CEO of eecosphere, which he co-founded while at ASU. eecosphere connects responsible brands with conscious consumers online through social advocacy campaigns. The platform helps users adopt new sustainability behaviors into their lives, and gives them tools to scale their daily actions into global revolutions.

Why did you choose to study at ASU’s School of Sustainability?

I’m not your prototypical “tree hugger,” but I’ve always been fascinated by the complexities that make up sustainable change in a system. Originally, I wanted to be in the construction engineering field. However, I quickly became more intrigued by the way sustainability science has the potential to motivate and empower the mainstream to collectively engage with complex global issues.

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Meet Our Alumni: Jeffrey Jennings

School of Sustainability News Alumni News Alumni and Student Spotlights

May 18, 2016

Sustainability student Jeffrey smiling in front of fountains and palm treesJeffrey Jennings graduated from the School of Sustainability in 2012 with a Bachelor of Arts, focusing on Society and Sustainability. He also has a Professional Science Masters in Science and Technology Policy from ASU’s School for the Future of Innovation in Society.

Jennings works as a sustainability project coordinator for Arizona Public Service, where he focuses on corporate social responsibility and how to make APS a more sustainable company. He was named among the 2016 GreenBiz "30 Under 30" for his leadership in the sustainability field.

Why did you choose to study at ASU’s School of Sustainability?

Before choosing ASU, I considered Northern Arizona University and University of Arizona. It was a bit of a journey. I had always been attracted to multiple disciplines but wasn’t sure it would be possible to successfully combine my interests into one major. Initially, I started out in accounting and quickly realized that it wasn’t a good fit. Next, I strongly considered urban planning or supply chain before landing on sustainability.

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Celebrating 10 years of leading the way

Board Letter ASU Sustainability News ASU Wrigley Institute News Alumni News

January 4, 2016

asu-school-sustainability-anniversaryArizona State University’s School of Sustainability has been boldly leading the way to a sustainable future since its inception in 2006.

Now in 2016, the school – the first comprehensive, degree-granting program of its kind in the nation – reaches its 10th Anniversary. The milestone will be marked with a series of memorable events from April 14-16, including a Wrigley Lecture by renowned author of “The Omnivore’s Dilemma,” Michael Pollan.

The school has enjoyed numerous accomplishments over the past decade, including an expanding set of undergraduate and graduate degree programs, a minor in sustainability and multiple online offerings. It has also established training partnerships with organizations including the International Finance Corporation, World Bank, Starbucks, Walton Family Foundation, Wells Fargo, United States Agency for International Development and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

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Haley Paul: Leading through knowledge, and by example

School of Sustainability News Alumni News Alumni and Student Spotlights

December 23, 2015

Haley Paul - Sustainability AlumHaley Paul is a 2010 graduate of the School of Sustainability’s Master of Science in Sustainability program, as well as a former NCAA athlete for the ASU track and field and cross country teams. She works as a water conservation specialist for the Town of Gilbert, and recently sat down with us to discuss her experience at ASU and how it led her to where she is today.

Why did you choose ASU and to get a master's in sustainability?

I wanted to focus on sustainability because I felt there was a need to explore how our everyday lives were impacting the planet. As an athlete, I paid attention to the food I put into my body. I thought studying agriculture and how we can grow food sustainably - along with the impact that food has on our health and environment - would be interesting.

For my undergraduate honors thesis at Washington State University in Pullman, WA, I examined food system scale as it related to sustainability and worked on an organic farm. When I found the School of Sustainability at ASU, I knew it would be a great degree program in which to continue my studies.

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Sharyn Tom: Saying "yes" to opportunity

School of Sustainability News Alumni News Alumni and Student Spotlights

December 7, 2015

Tom in front of a mosque in Istanbul
Tom in customary dress in front of the Rustem Pasha Mosque in Istanbul - another "yes" that she will never regret.

When we last spoke with Sharyn Tom, she was graduating from the School of Sustainability with a Bachelor of Science in the Economics of Sustainability. She also obtained a Bachelor of Science in Marketing from the W. P. Carey School of Business.

Tom chose to major in sustainability because she wanted to study something meaningful that went beyond traditional disciplines.

She explained, “I lived with my family in Vancouver, Canada, in the summers, and sustainability efforts gave the city its vibrancy and charm. The initiatives also improved transportation, waste systems and peoples’ sense of personal responsibility.”

These initiatives are why Tom chose to live in Arizona; she wanted to share the enthusiasm that she had grown accustomed to.

Recently, we caught up with Tom for a debrief of post-graduation life.

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Sustainability grad receives prestigious NASA fellowship

Board Letter School of Sustainability News ASU Wrigley Institute News Alumni News Alumni and Student Spotlights

November 18, 2015

asu-sustainability-grad-nasa-fellowAnn Marie Raymondi, a 2013 graduate of the School of Sustainability's Master of Science program, has been named a NASA Harriett G. Jenkins Graduate Fellow following a rigorous selection process. Now pursuing her master’s in biology at Boise State, Raymondi is one of only 13 to receive a prestigious Minority University Research Education Project (MUREP) Advanced STEM Training and Research (ASTAR) fellowship.

The fellowship application required students to develop a research proposal, which was then evaluated by NASA for scientific rigor and impact. Raymondi's research will examine the effects of fire and climate change on plant communities in the sagebrush-steppe system. This is an important line of inquiry as many ecosystems that support life on Earth are undergoing rapid change, underscoring the need for tools to aid our understanding.

In addition to research conducted at Boise State during the academic year, Raymondi's award provides her with an annual 10- to 15-week center-based research experience at a NASA research center.

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What's luck got to do with it?

School of Sustainability News Alumni News Alumni and Student Spotlights

November 5, 2015

lucky-sharma-asu-sustainability-gradSince graduating from the School of Sustainability in 2012 with a Master of Arts degree, Lucky Sharma has worked with Fortune 500 companies like Apple and US Airways.

And though her name may suggest otherwise, luck has had nothing to do with her success. Sharma participated in interdisciplinary research and worked as a teaching assistant to help offset the cost of her education, which she says would have been “almost impossible” to obtain without the financial support she received.

The San Franciso resident — who recently took a job with Tesla Motors as a commodity manager — talked about her passion for a greener future and how ASU’s emphasis on interdisciplinary study helped her get where she is today in this recent interview with ASU Now.

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Nat Geo spotlights company co-founded by sustainability grad

Board Letter School of Sustainability News ASU Wrigley Institute News Alumni News Alumni and Student Spotlights

October 6, 2015

Bin of green charcoal in HaitiCarbon Roots International - a company co-founded by School of Sustainability graduate and Founders’ Day Award recipient, Ryan Delaney - was highlighted in the October issue of National Geographic magazine with the headline "Bright Ideas can Change the World."

Launched in 2010, CRI uses sustainability principles to help rural farmers in Haiti develop more efficient agricultural practices. It trains farmers on the production of a renewable fuel known as “green charcoal,” which allows them to convert crop waste into a fuel source that can be used in cooking and to improve soil fertility.

CRI is one of 29 projects to receive a grant from the "Great Energy Challenge," an initiative of National Geographic in partnership with Shell that recognizes innovative energy solutions.