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Sustainability Connect:
community projects and internships

Meet Master of Sustainability Solutions student Kiana Mays

November 7, 2019

Kiana Mays“I’m passionate about the intersection of food and sustainability, as well as the beauty and fashion industries,” said Arizona State University student Kiana Mays. “The way we care for our bodies, on the inside and out, is truly a reflection of how we view and treat the outer world.”

Mays has manifested her interests in social responsibility, restaurants, food waste and wellness in a number of ways during her tenure at ASU, including a stint as a report writing assistant for the Project Cities program in the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability. As a former restaurant employee, she became aware of numerous social, environmental and economic issues that the industry faces on a daily basis.

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Meet sustainability master's student Matthew Burmeister

October 23, 2019

Matthew BurmeisterArizona State University student Matthew Burmeister has been doing incredible work in sustainability with "Sustainable Sound: Festival Guide," a guide to making music festivals more sustainable, which originated from a Sustainability Connect project.

Based on his experiences, Burmeister has some "sound" advice for students who are inexperienced in sustainability projects: “Don’t give up — when I first came up with the idea for 'Sustainable Sound' I had zero connections with anyone in the festival industry or even any experience in event planning. Regardless of my unfamiliarity with the field, I wanted to do this project so badly that I took the time to reach out to industry professionals and dug into the existing research and frameworks. After countless phone calls, emails, pitches and rejections, I am now working with some of my favorite festival organizations to help them transform their events.”

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Meet sustainability student Heejoo Min

July 23, 2019

HeeJoo Min and friendsHeejoo Min had a pivotal moment when she realized that we needed to completely change our perspectives to include sustainability. This realization led her to ASU where she discovered the School of Sustainability.

“ASU was the only school that had a dedicated department for sustainability,” Min said (pictured top row, third from left). “I looked more into it and I thought it was very well-designed program. Other schools offered it as an environmental science degree, but I thought sustainability is so much more than just science.”

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Meet sustainability senior Paiton Upshaw

July 17, 2019

Student in graduation regaliaPaiton Upshaw was working at her previous job when she realized she wanted more. Motivated by her love for the planet, Upshaw decided to take the next step by attending the School of Sustainability online program through the Starbucks College Achievement Plan.

“I knew I wanted to do something to help the world because I love the world,” Upshaw said. “I saw that Starbucks paid full tuition to ASU online and upon looking through the ASU online majors, I found sustainability! I thought that sustainability aligned perfectly with what I was interested in, and I've really enjoyed my entire time at the School of Sustainability through ASU online."

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Meet Summer Vogel, intern at Oregon Caves National Monument and Preserve

July 1, 2019

Summer Vogel in park ranger unifromSchool of Sustainability online student Summer Vogel has been interning with Oregon Caves National Monument and Preserve since April. Vogel is a junior pursuing an online Bachelor of Science in Sustainability with a geography minor through the Starbucks College Achievement Plan, a partnership between Arizona State University and Starbucks. She shared her experience as an online student and provided insight into her internship with the National Park Service.

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Meet sustainability alumna Kayla Kutter

June 17, 2019

Kayla KutterKayla Kutter recently graduated from Arizona State University with two degrees: a Master of Sustainability Solutions from the School of Sustainability and a Master of Science and Technology Policy from the School for the Future of Innovation in Society.

Kutter said she realized she wanted to study sustainability while she was in the Peace Corps in Tanzania. While living in a small village for two years, she did not have access to running water or electricity, and she had to minimize her waste due to the lack of trash collection infrastructure.

“Learning to live off the grid and be acutely aware of how much I was using was a huge change in my mindset,” Kutter said. Read more about her experience studying sustainability in her Q&A.

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Meet sustainability alumna Samantha Zah

June 6, 2019

Samantha ZahWith a growing number of sustainability programs out there, how do you choose?

Samantha Zah, a spring 2019 graduate of the Master of Sustainability Solutions (MSUS) at Arizona State University, said she chose the program because of its applied approach. “I was concerned with getting wrapped up in academia and losing connection with the real world, so I appreciated the option to straddle both while advancing my career in the MSUS program,” she explained.

Even before graduating, Zah applied the skills she was learning in class to a project with the Navajo Nation Gaming Enterprise, a business owned by the tribe. As part of the Navajo Nation’s strategic plan to advance economically by expanding tourism, Navajo Gaming is developing a travel center near Flagstaff — and Zah worked with the business to ensure sustainability was embedded in the project.

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Meet sustainability alumna Kaylin Ayotte

May 21, 2019

Kayin AyotteKaylin Ayotte is an Arizona native and a two-time Arizona State University graduate. After receiving a bachelor’s degree from the School of Sustainability and a minor in business, she went on to expand her education with the Master of Sustainability Solutions (MSUS), graduating in Spring 2019.

Along with fellow student Isabel Burdge, Ayotte developed a publication for sustainability professionals, Mindiac, that focuses on mindfulness. Read more about their culminating experience project, and Ayotte’s experience in the MSUS program, in her Q&A below.

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Meet graduating sustainability master’s student Anthony Contento

May 6, 2019

Anthony Contento stands near a sign for his business, Contento RecyclingLast summer, we did a Q&A with Anthony Contento, a Master of Sustainability Leadership student in the School of Sustainability. Now that he just graduated with a few more accomplishments under his belt, we thought it was time to do a follow-up interview to learn about his capstone project and hear reflections about his experience with the program.

Question: Can you tell us about your capstone project?

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Meet graduating sustainability master’s student Christopher Mutshnick

May 3, 2019

Christopher Mutshnick headshotOne of the goals of the Master of Sustainability Leadership in the School of Sustainability is to teach tools that can be immediately applied to benefit each student’s workplace — and student Christopher William Mutshnick is a great example of that succeeding. Mutshnick, who is graduating with an MSL degree this month, has worked in the field of educational outreach and equity for nearly 10 years and used his capstone project to create for his organization a program that addresses global challenges while improving student learning and access to higher education.

Initially, Mutshnick didn’t see how threats like climate change connected with education. But then it dawned on him: “In my quest to make the world a better place, I had failed to realize that a prerequisite was having a world left to save.” Read his Q&A to learn more about this realization and what Mutshnick has been working on since.

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