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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.

I actually found out about it [School of Sustainability] on a whim, when it was still really new. Arizona State University is the only place that I applied to for grad school. I was so set on attending Arizona State that before I was even accepted, I flew to Tempe and found the School of Sustainability.

It was a field day that was School of Sustainability-specific, and I saw students and faculty playing kickball near the rec center. I met Dr. Chuck Redman (the founding director of the school), and a current grad student at the time – Riley Smith – walked me around the building and the grad lounge. I also got the chance to talk to others who were around. The School of Sustainability was so welcoming, even before I was a student, and that helped solidify my plan to attend.

Tell us a bit about what you're currently doing related to sustainability:

I started a gourmet frozen pop company called Alchemy Pops. The vision is to create new market opportunities for Texas Farmers and connect people to what's locally available. Flavors are Texas-sourced and Texas-inspired. Every day is somewhat of a surprise, which makes it fun. It is not for everybody, especially if you like consistency.

I hope to continue to grow my company and expand the brand to support more farmers. I would really like to make an impact as a way of doing business to reflect what local farmers are doing, and to tell the story of the hard work of being a small-scale farmer. They are the caretakers of regional land and do it when it’s easier to do something else. Farming is a really difficult profession. These are the types of people I want to support.

What advice do you have for sustainability students or students considering sustainability?

My experience at the School of Sustainability was a very positive one. I encourage students to take advantage of everything ASU has to offer. Invest in your cohort and cherish getting to know your fellow students. Everyone is going to do big and awesome things. It is so great to know what people in my cohort went on to do. Also, set expectations on how you can play your part in the program.