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Student success spotlights

Student success spotlights

Student success spotlights

Meet sustainability alumna René Edde

November 14, 2018

Woman 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 student Elyse Kats

November 7, 2018

Woman with brown hair smiling in front of brightly colored wallElyse Kats left the Midwest for the Arizona desert and hasn’t looked back.

Kats, an Arizona State University School of Sustainability undergraduate student, is from Kansas but is happy she decided to move out of her comfort zone. And it’s good she did: Kats said she’s loving her college experiences, not only in her classes but also as a Doris Duke Conservation Scholar, a founding member of Green Greeks and a research aide for the Decision Center for a Desert City. On top of her bachelor’s degree, Kats is pursuing a minor in parks and recreation management and a certificate in socio-legal studies.

“I hope that I can one day have a career that I can make a difference in my community with, and I know ASU is giving me the tools to do so,” Kats said.

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Meet sustainability alumnus Tyler Sytsma

November 6, 2018

Man with backpack hiking in mountainsTyler 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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Salute to Service: Dynamic military couple part of ASU community

November 5, 2018

Uniformed US Army couple wearing leis and smiling in front of US flagIf they weren’t so humble, active-duty Army Capts. Natalie and Ed Mallue could serve as the face of a major beer label’s advertising campaign and be dubbed “The Most Interesting Couple in the World.”

They graduated from the grueling U.S. Military Academy. They conquered Ranger school, the Army’s toughest feat of human physical and mental endurance. They returned recently from South Africa where they served as military advisers for a major on-location Hollywood movie production. And they made headlines when former President Barack Obama called them to apologize for disrupting their wedding in Hawaii.

The Mallues are a dynamic duo who have been “stationed” at Arizona State University since the summer of 2017, with Natalie pursuing a master’s degree with ASU’s School of Sustainability and Ed serving as an assistant professor of military science with Army ROTC. They represent the vast diversity and talent found within the ASU community and stand as a physical reminder of why the university organizes Salute to Service each year to recognize those who have served.

Read more about the Mallues in ASU Now.

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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Master of Sustainability student talks business on Innovations Happens podcast

October 28, 2018

Sam Castaneda Holdren picture with quoteSam Castañeda Holdren is a Master of Sustainability Leadership student from the U.S. who's now living in Colombia, where he founded Out in Colombia, a travel agency focused on sustainable LGBT tourism.

Arizona State University's Innovation Happens podcast featured Holdren as its guest on Episode 20. In the podcast, Holdren talks about how he started Out in Colombia and continues to grow his business using what he has learned from his online sustainability degree.

Holdren says that Out in Colombia promotes sustainable travel by ensuring that its activities have positive environmental, economic and social impacts.

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Meet sustainability alumnus Maximilian Christman

October 23, 2018

Man in blue t-shirt petting elephant's trunkIt was in middle school that Maximilian Christman first thought about how people impact the environment, when his mom showed him an article from People magazine about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. “While I wasn’t familiar with the term ‘sustainability’ at the time, I knew that I wanted my life and career to leave a positive mark on the world,” he said.

Fueled by this passion, Christman graduated from Arizona State University’s School of Sustainability in 2014 with a bachelor of science focusing on sustainable energy, materials and technology. He later received a master of environmental management from Duke University. Since wrapping up his studies, Christman worked for two years as the sustainability specialist for the University of Wisconsin–Madison’s health department (UW Health), and he recently accepted a new position as the sustainability manager for the California Institute of Technology.

“We can follow different paths, but each of us sustainability professionals is forging our way ahead towards progress in our field and our world,” he said.

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Meet sustainability alumna Alex Slaymaker

October 15, 2018

Woman smiling and sitting by treeAlex Slaymaker is only 26, but she has already received a master’s degree (the Master of Sustainability Solutions at Arizona State University) and has worked in several sustainability fields in the U.S. and Europe, including zero waste, urban agriculture, climate adaptation planning, health, urban design and green building.

"I first learned about the complex opportunities and challenges around smart cities in a class at the School of Sustainability, and now I’m on a talented team leading the world in smart city innovation," Slaymaker said.

Currently, Slaymaker is working for Smart Columbus, a 50 million dollar initiative to reinvent transportation in Columbus, Ohio for a more sustainable future. Read Slaymaker’s Q&A below for more about how she got inspired to work in urban sustainability and how the School of Sustainability prepared her to take on big challenges.

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

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Sustainability alumna recognized as Sustainability Champion by Arizona Forward

October 10, 2018

Alexia BednarzAlexia Bednarz graduated from Arizona State University in 2013 with a bachelor’s degree from the School of Sustainability and a minor in design studies from the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts. Shortly after graduating, she landed a job with U-Haul, where she still works today as a community advocate for corporate sustainability. Bednarz was recognized on October 6 as a “Sustainability Champion” by Arizona Forward during a ceremony in which she received an Award of Distinction.

Bednarz answered a few questions for us about how she ended up as a sustainability major and how the degree has propelled her career.

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

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