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A family man's journey to sustainability

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

December 12, 2016

jason-tibbetts-standing-in-front-of-green-leafy-treeIn a December 2016 interview with ASU NowSchool of Sustainability student Jason Tibbetts shares that he originally planned to attend an out-of-state school. He ultimately opted for Mesa Community College due to its reputation and proximity, and learned about the School of Sustainability there.

"I have always had a passion for the environment and self-sufficiency, but I never had a name for it until I heard about the sustainability program at ASU," Tibbetts says.

Tibbetts enrolled in the school's Bachelor of Science program shortly thereafter. In addition to classes in the Sustainable Energy, Materials and Technology track, he is a husband and a father of three, as well as the owner of an edible landscaping business.

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Sustainability student named among Outside's "30 Under 30"

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

November 16, 2016

Sarra standing in front of an urban garden wearing a shirt that says "hope"At age 21, Sarra Tekola stood on a stage in Blaine, Washington and shouted to a crowd that she was “born to fight climate change.” Now enrolled in the PhD program at ASU's School of Sustainability, Tekola has been named to Outside magazine's "30 Under 30."

The list features young adults successfully tackling some of the biggest challenges on the planet and leading the way for others. Tekola, the daughter of an Ethiopian refugee who fled his home country after a deadly drought, has been championing climate action for years. Outside nicknames her "The Troublemaker" for her sometimes unconventional way of prompting positive change.

Tekola is now studying how to build eco-communities for underprivileged people.

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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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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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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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Student Spotlight: Kayla Bellman

School of Sustainability News Alumni and Student Spotlights

May 5, 2016

Kayla Bellman laughing in front of red hot air balloonChandler, Arizona native Kayla Bellman graduates from the School of Sustainability in Spring 2016 with a Bachelor of Science in the Sustainable Energy, Materials and Technology track. She will also receive a Bachelor of Arts in Global Studies with a Certificate in Human Rights.

What does sustainability mean to you?

To me, sustainability is the action of pursuing a just world. It is an act grander than one person, one community, and one nation. It demands the attention of the global community, immediately.

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

Growing up, I believed the medical field was the only way to “do good” – all my aunts and uncles are in the medical field. The product of two engineers, I was determined to do just about anything other than engineering.

Over the course of my senior year in high school, I came to the conclusion that environmental work could also fulfill my desire to “do good.” I found the School of Sustainability through a Google search, and I realized the best-of-the-best was in my backyard.

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Student Spotlight: Anna Jean Bettis

School of Sustainability News Alumni and Student Spotlights

May 4, 2016

Anna Bettis wearing black-framed glasses and smilingAnna Jean Bettis graduated with a Bachelor of Arts – International Development from the School of Sustainability in 2014. This spring, the Kankakee, Illinois native graduates again - this time with her Masters of Sustainability Solutions.

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

During my senior year in high school in a marine biology course, there was a small section at the end about environmental destruction in the oceans. Up until this point, I was totally unaware of the massive environmental crisis we faced.

I took it upon myself to read more about environmental problems, from mass extinctions to the shifts in availability of water due to climate change. I was shocked and felt an urgency to be part of the solution. I had already planned to go to ASU, so when I learned that the School of Sustainability was a leader – the first in the nation – I was excited to apply!

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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.

 

Leah Sunna: Connecting people to sustainability

School of Sustainability News Alumni News Alumni and Student Spotlights

October 5, 2015

Leah-Sunna-smilingLeah Sunna is a Tempe native, School of Sustainability alum and a true advocate for helping people find connections to the environment and world around them.

Sunna recalls, at a young age, opening Sierra Magazines on her mother’s coffee table and being interested in the environment. From then on, she always identified as a “nature-lover” with a passion for community involvement.

Though interested in the environment, the “feel-good” aspect of sustainability also appealed to Sunna. At the end of the day, she wanted to do something that mattered – something that made her feel like she was making a difference.

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Vows and Values: Our Sustainable Wedding Story

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

July 17, 2015

Smiling bride and groom on sunny spring day
Photo by: Leanne Young of Leanne Michelle Photography

by Katie Peige Baker

School of Sustainability Alumna

Roses are red,

violets are blue,

our wedding was green

and sustainable too!

Brad and I met at Green Drinks, a networking group for environmental professionals. We both graduated from ASU’s School of Sustainability but never met during our undergraduate studies. Now, we are both sustainability professionals; I work for the Decision Center for a Desert City as the education and community outreach coordinator and Brad works for the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality as a hazardous waste compliance officer.

We wanted to practice what we preach, teach and enforce while making a green statement by having an Earth Month wedding. So we pledged to have as little impact on the environment as possible within our budget, which ended up actually saving us a bunch of green.

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Student Spotlight: Sharyn Tom

School of Sustainability News Alumni and Student Spotlights

June 4, 2015

Sustainability-Student-Sharyn-Tom
Senior Sharyn Tom presenting the "School of Sustainability's Student Survival Guide."

Sharyn Tom is a Spring 2015 graduate of the School of Sustainability, having earned a Bachelor of Science in the Economics of Sustainability track. She also obtained a Bachelor of Science in Marketing from the W. P. Carey School of Business.

Prior to graduating, Tom shared her sustainability story with us. We look forward to hearing where her curiosity and passion for problem solving take her next!

Why did you choose to major in Sustainability?

Because I’m a dual citizen between Canada and the U.S., I would go to Vancouver, B.C. every summer to visit family. I was constantly inspired by the city’s sustainability advances in transportation, First Nations Law, urban planning, policy and conservation. I wanted to be part of the revolution that brought those wonderful things to Phoenix, and I saw the sustainability program at ASU as an opportunity to become knowledgeable in the field.

Why did you choose the Economics of Sustainability track?

I was completely inspired by ECN 360: Economic Development - a class I took with Todd Schoellman. It remains one of my favorite economics classes because it opened my eyes to new ways of applying my sustainability knowledge for good. Understanding key elements of economics - such as supply and demand, market movements and financial incentives - became a powerful part of building the business case for sustainability.

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