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Student Spotlight: Sharyn Tom

School of Sustainability News Alumni and Student Spotlights

June 4, 2015

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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Student Spotlight: Megan Barry

School of Sustainability News Alumni and Student Spotlights

January 16, 2015

sustainability-student-megan-barryThis past December, representatives from around the world gathered in Lima, Peru to discuss our collective course on climate change. Megan Barry, a Fall 2014 graduate of the School of Sustainability's Master’s in Sustainable Solutions program, attended the historic conference. She shares her experience in this month’s Student Spotlight.

How did you snag a seat at the Lima Climate Change Conference?

I was serving as a research assistant to climate scientist Sonja Klinsky at the time. One aspect of my work was to analyze the various meanings of the term “transformation” with regard to climate change and climate finance. The conference was a perfect venue for this research because “transformation” is frequently used in this context.

What was it like?

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Student Spotlight: Angela Cazel-Jahn

ASU Sustainability News School of Sustainability News Alumni and Student Spotlights

December 22, 2014

student helps to paint sustainability muralAs a student in the Master’s in Sustainable Solutions program offered by ASU’s School of Sustainability, Angela Cazel-Jahn specialized in communication. Her focus centered on removing barriers to sustainable solutions by improving the public’s understanding of sustainability itself.

Cazel-Jahn set out to simplify sustainability concepts and stimulate conversation about them through her applied project – a participatory mural titled Adapt & Sustain. Through a series of workshops that she organized, students and other locals translated core sustainability terms into scenarios that could be both depicted in the mural and easily understood by the public.

Participants from surrounding neighborhoods, schools and organizations then painted these scenarios on a 330-foot stretch of wall located along the Grand Canal trail. The area's residents will soon walk, run, bike and rollerblade past the final product, enjoying its vibrancy while considering its underlying sustainability theme.


Sustainability alum is geared for a greater good

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

September 15, 2014

brelsford-sustainability-alumLast week, School of Sustainability alumna Christa Brelsford represented her country at the Paraclimbing World Championships in Spain where she dominated her division. Recognizing that participating in the competition is a privilege, Brelsford tied her international appearance to an online fundraiser for the less fortunate called Christa Climbs for Haiti.

If you spend any time with Brelsford, who graduated this summer with a doctoral degree from the School of Sustainability, you'll get the sense that this is a supremely practical person who is guided by a strong sense of self and innate desire to do good in the world. That's what Matt Lauer found when he interviewed Brelsford the TODAY show after she was badly injured during the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, where she had been working on an adult literacy project.

The newly crowned climbing world champion returns home following her competition abroad, but her mission remains unchanged.

"My biggest goal in life is to use careful thought to do good in the world," says Brelsford. "I was in Haiti to learn how to help, and I research and study sustainability for the same reason."


Sustainability alum helps millennials live more mindfully

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June 5, 2014

eecosphere-appSchool of Sustainability alumnus Andrew Krause has found practical application for his education through technology that helps users discover, adopt and share ideas for leading a more sustainable lifestyle. The eEcosphere app, now available for iOS, matches millennials with ideas that are tailored to their needs and improve their everyday decisions by providing quality local resources. This helps to prevent the common breakdown between intention and action while providing the user with a fun and collaborative experience.

Krause, who received a Master’s of Science from the School of Sustainability in 2012, was recently named as a delegate to the United Nations Foundation Global Accelerator 2014. He and fellow delegates will work with policy leaders on global issues to create innovative advancements toward key Millennium Development Goals. Because the accelerator seeks out the world’s top 100 entrepreneurs, the appointment is a great testament to the significance of Krause's work.


Sustainability grad influences water management reform

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

May 6, 2014

ben-warner2Ben Warner, a School of Sustainability doctoral student, used an interdisciplinary approach to determine the causes of water scarcity in the rural, semi-arid region of northwestern Costa Rica. By working directly with water and agricultural managers, Warner found that both drought and international trade liberalization treaties have had a major impact on smallholder farmers. As a result, they have become increasingly vulnerable to global changes and less capable of adapting to them.

In an effort to bolster smallholder farmers’ ability to cope with limited market access and frequent drought, Warner collected data from workshop proceedings, focus groups, interviews and surveys within the Arenal-Tempisque Irrigation Project in Guanacaste, Costa Rica. His analysis revealed that farm size, farming tenure, the presence of family members working outside of the agricultural sector, livestock ownership, perceptions of climate change and household reliance on agriculture were determining factors in farmers’ decisions to adjust their livelihoods. His findings have since been used to refine agricultural water management policy in the region.


Student Spotlight: David Jae Hoon Yu

ASU Sustainability News School of Sustainability News Alumni and Student Spotlights

May 2, 2014

David-YuMotivated by the desire to make an impact, School of Sustainability doctoral student and Neely Foundation grant recipient David Yu made a courageous decision that has changed the course of his career.

Yu was born and spent his formative years in Seoul, South Korea. As a teen, he immigrated to the Canadian province of British Columbia with his family. After graduating from Centennial High School in Coquitlam, a suburb of Vancouver, he enrolled in the engineering science program at Simon Fraser University.

Life after graduation was comfortable for Yu, who began working as an engineer and quality assurance professional in the IT industry. Though he made a decent living, he began craving a change.

“I wanted to have more impact than being just one of many engineers in a big company,” Yu says. “I wanted an exciting career that allowed me to contribute and make an impact, even when I’m 60 or 70 years old.”

With his sights set on a new occupation in either environmental policy or sustainability science, Yu resigned from his job of seven years to pursue the graduate degree necessary to attain it.

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Student Spotlight: Alexis Roeckner

Board Letter ASU Sustainability News Alumni and Student Spotlights

April 23, 2014

20140306-Global-Sustainability-Studies-Program-Alexis-Roeckner-Profile-DCSchool of Sustainability senior Alexis Roeckner began her ASU experience in pursuit of a journalism degree. Though the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism’s reputable program appealed to her passion for writing and ambition to be published one day, she realized during her first semester that her interests lie elsewhere.

“I had heard about the School of Sustainability while I was still in high school, but because I’d already been accepted into the journalism program, I decided to admire from afar,” Roeckner says. “I discovered that, while the journalism program was great, it just wasn’t a fit for me. So I began the process of switching over to sustainability and didn’t look back.”

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Meet Our Alumni: Jessica Fox

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

March 31, 2014

Jessica Fox - Alumni ProfileNow working to bring a renewable surface water supply from the Colorado River to Central Arizona, alum Jessica Fox has a long-standing interest in sustainability.

As a high school student in in Canandaigua, New York, Jessica was fascinated by the intersection between environmental science and economics. Wanting to learn more, she enrolled in State University of New York’s College of Environmental Science and Forestry. Several years after graduating with a bachelor’s in environmental science and policy, along with a minor in management science from Syracuse University, she decided to pursue a graduate education in water policy.

“Water is obviously much more plentiful in the Northeast, and it’s governed differently there, so I wanted to study how water is allocated and managed under scarce conditions in the Western US,” Jessica says.

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Student Spotlight: Jesus Chavez

Board Letter School of Sustainability News Alumni and Student Spotlights

March 25, 2014

jesus-chavez-300x200Jesus Chavez is a senior in the Urban Dynamics track within the School of Sustainability. An alumnus of El Rancho High School in Pico Rivera, California, Chavez graduates in May 2014 with a bachelor’s in both Sustainability and Urban Planning.

Chavez is energetic in his pursuit of implementable solutions to urban planning predicaments in both his studies and extra-curricular work. In August 2014, he begins an urban planning internship with a private consulting firm in Spain.

Why did you choose ASU?

The School of Sustainability is the major reason I chose ASU, a one-of-a-kind institution tackling wicked problems on a local to global scale. The fact that it is a top-ranked institution for both Sustainability and Urban Planning solidified my decision to get the most out of my education here.

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Kao is first to graduate with Master's in Sustainability Solutions

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

January 17, 2014

Photo by: Tim Trumble

After a very busy year and a half being a graduate student in Arizona State University’s School of Sustainability, Karen Kao celebrated her achievements as the graduate speaker at the school’s fall convocation this past December. With a background in psychology, Kao is very interested in the behavioral change behind sustainability, which led her to the school’s master’s degree in sustainable solutions.

“The program is an applied degree, so anything that I learned in the academic field of psychology, I could learn how to translate into practice,” Kao says. “Graduating as the first student from the program, I feel well-equipped with the strategies and thought-processes that help build solution options, and I take with me a practical skillset that’s transferrable to almost any subject in sustainability.”

As a student, Kao served as a research assistant on projects implementing practical solutions to sustainability issues, ranging from economics to urban planning. As part of her capstone project, mandatory for the master’s degree in sustainable solutions, Kao conducted community engagement workshops in Phoenix to collect public opinions for Reinvent PHX. The project, funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Sustainable Communities Grant Program, aims to develop a new model of sustainable urban development, where public transit, housing, jobs and services improve the quality of life for all residents.

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Student Spotlight: Samson Szeto

School of Sustainability News Alumni and Student Spotlights

November 22, 2013

Sustainability Student Samson SzetoSamson Szeto is a senior in the School of Sustainability. A product of Barry Goldwater High School in Phoenix, Ariz., Szeto will graduate in December 2013 with concurrent bachelor’s degrees in justice studies and sustainability, along with three minors in geography, Asian studies, and socio-legal studies.

Szeto’s School of Sustainability challenge area is Society and Sustainability.

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Sustainability alum advises hospitals on waste, recycling

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

November 19, 2013

Rud Moe, a 2013 School of Sustainability graduate, is now the hospital sustainability specialist for Stericycle. Using the knowledge he gained while at ASU, Moe advises Stericycle on how they can promote less wasteful medical practices at hospitals.

"In the past, most of a hospital's trash was disposed as hazardous medical waste, which requires expensive and environmentally damaging processes like incineration," Moe says. "In some cases, dangerous pharmaceuticals are just thrown down the drain and eventually end up in local ecosystems or in our water supply. Stericycle provides hospitals with the training and infrastructure needed to properly sort their waste and increase recycling, which helps the environment, saves the hospitals money, and reduces the strain on landfills."

Like most students in the School of Sustainability, Moe enjoys making a positive impact on the world.


Sustainability alum's career adapts to changing world

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

November 14, 2013

Emma Huizar-Felix, a 2012 graduate of the School of Sustainability, moved from her home state of Mexico to pursue more opportunities and a higher education. She settled in Arizona and ended up double majoring in design and sustainability and minoring in landscape architecture. From a young age, she knew hard work and determination could get her anywhere.

"For young people in Mexico to start on their own path, it’s really hard. If I had stayed there, I would always have worked in my Mom’s business, or my Dad’s," says Huizar-Felix. "I didn’t really want that. I wanted to grow more and be able to prove to myself I can do a lot on my own."

In the future, Huizar-Felix hopes to open her own business and consult on sustainability in Mexico. She wants to help lower energy costs and consumption in businesses much like her parents'.


Sustainability a means of achieving change for alumnus

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

October 15, 2013

Mariela CastanedaMariela Castaneda is a water resource specialist at the Arizona Department of Water Resources (ADWR), a job she attained following an internship there during her senior year at Arizona State University (ASU). She graduated in 2013 from ASU’s School of Sustainability.

The Glendale, Ariz. native and graduate of Copper Canyon High School considered Northern Arizona University as well as the University of Arizona, but decided on ASU because of the financial support she received here.

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Student Spotlight: Ariel LeBarron

School of Sustainability News Alumni and Student Spotlights

October 14, 2013

spotlight-alebarronAriel LeBarron is a School of Sustainability Student Ambassador. She participates in networking opportunities meeting experts and professionals in the sustainability field. She also coordinates events for fellow students with the other Student Ambassadors. LeBarron chose the policy and governance in sustainable systems challenge area. After graduation, she hopes to live in Germany to learn about the country’s culture and sustainability policies.

1. Why did you choose the policy and governance challenge area in the School of Sustainability?

I chose the policy and governance track because it best fits my interests within the realm of sustainability. Focusing on policy and trying to implement change seems like a great to make a difference in this world.

2. What is your favorite part about being a Student Ambassador?

I love being able to recruit and meet incoming students. As a freshman, I found it vital to get another student’s opinion and thoughts on sustainability and with the Student Ambassadors I am able to do that.

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ASU sustainability grad joins VF Corporation as sustainability coordinator

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

September 3, 2013

Andrea-Baty_profile-picAndrea Baty, a School of Sustainability master's graduate, recently became VF Corporation's newest sustainability coordinator. VF Corporation is an $11-billion clothing company that includes brands like Nautica, Wrangler, Kipling, and The North Face. Baty joins the Sportswear division, working with the Nautica and Kipling teams.

As the sustainability coordinator, Baty designs employee education programs, organizes volunteer events, develops a sustainability strategy for both brands, and presents on corporate sustainability.

"My duties allow me to see the impact of shifting a company to more sustainable operations," Baty says. "There is a large effect of one company’s operations that ripples down to supply chains and people."


Student Spotlight: Arnaud Irakoze

School of Sustainability News Alumni and Student Spotlights

August 28, 2013

arnaud-irakoze-As a sophomore, Arnaud is combining his sustainability studies with urban planning. He hopes he can become a helpful communicator between oil, gas, and alternative energy companies. Arnaud believes when we all work together, we can help alleviate the negative effects of fossil fuel consumption and pollution. Now living in Arizona, he wants to explore solar power at the School of Sustainability. "Phoenix is hot and sunny so we might as well have solar power," Arnaud says.

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School of Sustainability alum now environmental program manager for City of Avondale

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

August 7, 2013

Culotta,DanielDaniel Culotta, who graduated from ASU's School of Sustainability last spring, is now the Environmental Program Manager for the City of Avondale. He is responsible for assisting companies, facilities, and organizations in achieving environmental regulation compliance, but also for creating the city's first-ever municipal sustainability plan.

"We’re creating the sustainability plan using an up-to-date, participatory, and evidence-based approach," Culotta says. "This plan will serve as the foundation for action going forward."

Culotta attributes his career success to the organizational and solution-focused experiences he had while at the School of Sustainability. He hopes that his new position will show people that sustainability is a fact of life.


Juggling solutions, experts is all in a day's work for sustainability grad

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

July 8, 2013

Rajesh Buch, a practice lead with Sustainability Solutions Extension Service under the  Rob and Melani Walton Sustainability Solutions Initiatives, graduated from the School of Sustainability last year. He is now applying his background in mechanical engineering, energy systems, and business in the Extension Service, a unique consulting group that pairs student analysts with faculty members who guide sustainability projects.

As a practice lead, Buch organizes the student groups and collaborates with the faculty to implement projects such as greenhouse gas inventories, waste recycling programs, and biofuel evaluations.

"Sustainability is a way to correct our way of developing," he says. "We can start by taking baby steps. I contribute by assisting those private and public organizations that are willing to recognize the importance of sustainability."