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Sustainability News

Meet sustainability alumna Alex Slaymaker

School of Sustainability News Alumni and Student Spotlights

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

School of Sustainability News Alumni and Student Spotlights

October 10, 2018

Alexia 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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Sustainability alumna uses her degree at Yellowstone

School of Sustainability News Alumni and Student Spotlights

October 10, 2018

woman smiling in driver's seat of Yellowstone vanCaroline Cloud graduated from the School of Sustainability at Arizona State University in 2017, and now she is working at Yellowstone National Park as a Risk and Sustainability Specialist for the park's concessions management company, Xanterra.

Cloud recently spoke with ASU Student Life about her position. "Don’t be afraid to take a job away from home or out of your comfort zone," she said. "If you’re qualified, apply."

Read Caroline Cloud's full Q&A from ASU Student Life.

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Sustainability students plant seeds for new semester

School of Sustainability News

September 26, 2018

Woman holding a large green plant with white flowersSustainability students are growing into the new semester — along with a new crop of vegetables in their revamped community garden.

Students of all grade levels gathered in the S-cluster community area of the Adelphi II dorms in Tempe on Friday to reclaim their community garden after being away while the Adelphi Complex was shut down for renovation.

The garden is about so much more than growing plants, according to Yaritza Hernandez, a sophomore double-majoring in sustainability and innovation in society.

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Meet sustainability student Justice LeVecke

School of Sustainability News Alumni and Student Spotlights

September 25, 2018

Woman standing on road wearing ASU shirtSophomore Justice LeVecke originally wanted to be a nursing student — and only a nursing student. Now, she’s double majoring in sustainability and nursing at Arizona State University, all because of a high school program that made her realize she “could do more in [her] career and during [her] life with a background in sustainability.”

During her time at Mountain Pointe High School in Phoenix, LeVecke took an Advanced Placement Environmental Science course that was eligible for School of Sustainability college credit through a partnership with ASU. Read more in her Q&A about how she got inspired to continue with sustainability:

Question: What did you like about the ASU Sustainability School @ Mountain Pointe program?

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Sustainability master's student wins water research award from Central Arizona Project

School of Sustainability News DCDC News Alumni and Student Spotlights

September 21, 2018

Woman with curled red hair smilingVeronica Horvath, an Arizona State University Master of Science in sustainability student and Decision Center for a Desert City research assistant, is a first place awardee of the 2018 Central Arizona Project Award for outstanding water research. This is the first time a DCDC research assistant has won this award. Horvath presented her work at the Arizona Hydrological Society's annual symposium on September 21 alongside several ASU sustainability scientists who research water.

“As an aspiring water scholar, I feel extremely grateful to receive this award for water research, especially because the Central Arizona Project and Arizona Hydrological Society are significant players involved with addressing Arizona's water future beyond academia,” Horvath said. “It is an honor to share this work with Arizona's dedicated practitioners, policy makers and water managers, and is a true representation of how ASU, DCDC, and the School of Sustainability foster use-inspired research.”

Horvath answered a few questions for us about her research and experience at ASU.

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Meet sustainability alumnus Michael Herod

School of Sustainability News Alumni News Alumni and Student Spotlights

September 20, 2018

Smiling man with glasses and red collared shirtMichael Herod has two degrees from the School of Sustainability: a bachelor of science and an Executive Master of Sustainability Leadership. But Herod didn’t enroll in sustainability because of a passion for the environment or for the health of communities around the world, as many students do. Herod initially pursued sustainability to prove his boss wrong and to do something beneficial with a “pocket full of Uncle Sam’s money” after returning from Iraq with the U.S. Army.

During his last undergraduate semester, Herod had a realization that inspired him to pursue the EMSL, and then to start a successful business called GOEFER that allows people and businesses to monitor and save on their energy use through advanced power strips. Read on for more about Herod’s journey and how he got the idea for his business.

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

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Meet sustainability student Bridget Abraham

School of Sustainability News Alumni and Student Spotlights

September 19, 2018

Woman with ASU shirt on pier overlooking oceanBridget Abraham recently began pursuing a bachelor of science in sustainability at Arizona State University. She became interested in sustainability during her time at Chandler High School, where she was Student Body President and involved in all Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate classes. During Abraham’s junior year, she enrolled in AP Environmental Science, and through a partnership between ASU and Chandler High, she earned School of Sustainability credit for this class.

Abraham answered questions for us about how this experience in high school led her to choosing a path in sustainability, and what sustainability means to her.

Question: What did you like about the ASU Sustainability School @ Chandler High School program?

Answer: The aspect I enjoyed the most about SOS was the passion behind it. My teacher, Mrs. Culver, loved what she taught and put all her effort into her students to share her knowledge and passion. I was captivated not only by what she taught us, but also her devotion to the environment.

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

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Propelling environmental and career change with the Master of Sustainability Leadership

School of Sustainability News Alumni and Student Spotlights

September 13, 2018

Woman standing and smilingFor many ASU Online students, the chance to make a difference in their communities is a powerful motivator for earning a degree. Whether their goal is to advance in their current field or propel into a new arena altogether, working professionals who enroll in one of our online degrees find the flexible and robust nature of the program helps set them up for success.

Pursuing a Master of Sustainability Leadership degree enabled ASU Online student Annalise Dum to transition from the field of architecture into the nonprofit sector, where she now works as the Chicago facilities and workplace wellness manager for the Natural Resources Defense Council. Her role with the environmental action group includes overseeing the day-to-day operations of the Chicago office, in addition to consulting and advocating for the wellness component of sustainability within institutional construction projects and NRDC’s workforce.

“I focus on holistic sustainability, corporate social responsibility, and health and wellness in the workplace,” Annalise says. “I am certain that I got here, in large part, because of the MSL program. Being able to talk about the four different threads of the program and my capstone project is what sold me in my interview."

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Sustainability student brings talent to the UN in Korea

School of Sustainability News Alumni and Student Spotlights

September 10, 2018

Sustainability student Junkee Ahn in suit standing in front of UN sealJunkee Ahn is a senior at Arizona State University studying sustainability at the Tempe campus. This summer, he took his skills abroad to South Korea to work in the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific. His studies focus on sustainable energy, materials and technology.

Ahn recently spoke with ASU Student Life about his internship. "I found my internship opportunity and applied through the official United Nations website," he said. "I strongly encourage students to visit their website to search through available positions since there are many internship opportunities throughout various sectors in numerous countries."

Read Junkee Ahn's full Q&A from ASU Student Life.

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Sustainability student talks on ABC15 about Arizona Sustainability Alliance grant

School of Sustainability News Alumni and Student Spotlights

September 4, 2018

Sustainability student Tearsa Saffell talks on ABC15Arizona State University School of Sustainability undergraduate student Tearsa Saffell was interviewed on ABC15 Arizona morning news for her involvement with the Arizona Sustainability Alliance, a nonprofit organization with a mission to create and support cutting-edge, project-based sustainability solutions in Arizona. The organization recently won a $5,000 Community Heroes grant to expand their program bringing vertical gardens into low-income schools.

"We bring in vertical gardens and have the students help us set them up, and then they're able — for the entire school year — to work with the gardens, and maintain them, and harvest them and eat the delicious food," Saffell said in the interview. The first graders "say how much they love eating vegetables and how excited they are to pick them and eat them, so it's really great to see."

Saffell is a Food Systems Priority Lead for the Arizona Sustainability Alliance. Along with majoring in sustainability, she is working toward a certificate in Food System Sustainability.

Watch Saffell's interview on ABC15 Arizona.

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Meet sustainability alumnus Sean McGraw

School of Sustainability News Alumni News Alumni and Student Spotlights

August 28, 2018

Sean McGraw FOR EnergySchool of Sustainability alumnus Sean McGraw founded FOR Energy while he was still an ASU student, and now it’s among the fastest-growing companies in the United States (number 1,215 to be exact, according to Inc. Magazine’s annual list). FOR Energy helps homeowners in Arizona and Nevada use energy more efficiently by conducting energy audits and completing home improvements — things like installing solar panels or energy-efficient windows, sealing leaky ducts, and improving insulation. The company’s 2017 revenue was $2.2 million — not bad for an idea that came to McGraw one day in a renewable energy class at ASU.

Read on for why McGraw switched his major to sustainability and what he believes is the most important factor that has contributed to FOR Energy’s success.

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

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Meet School of Sustainability Freshman Dustin Grief

School of Sustainability News Alumni and Student Spotlights

August 22, 2018

Student Dustin Grief posing for senior photoThis is Dustin Grief’s first full week as a School of Sustainability student at Arizona State University, but he already has three credit hours toward a degree. While he was in high school in Mesa, Arizona, Grief participated in the Collegiate Scholars Academy, a program that allowed him to earn ASU credit for his AP Environmental Science class (which translates to SOS 110 - Sustainable World at ASU).

The Collegiate Scholars Academy gave Grief the inspiration to pursue a sustainability degree. Every few weeks, School of Sustainability instructor Colin Tetreault would visit Grief’s AP Environmental Science class to talk about sustainability, energy and the environment.

“I was mesmerized every time he came to speak, and so I knew that I wanted to continue down the path of sustainability,” Grief said. “After talking with Colin and doing some research and a tour of the university, I decided that ASU would be the best fit.”

Grief answered a couple questions for us about his background and what he hopes to accomplish in the future.

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Arizona, Italy connection via study abroad cultivates possibility for ASU students

School of Sustainability News

August 15, 2018

Someone tending to a vegetable gardenA gourmet meal led to a food-for-thought opportunity for a handful of Arizona State University students this summer.

As a result of discussions sparked at Dinner 2040 — a meal-tasting-turned-panel-talk in Phoenix — between a local organic farmer, an ASU professor and a former project coordinator in the School of Sustainability, five students added a comparative farming practicum to their coursework for the Italian Language and Culture in San Severino Marche study-abroad program coordinated by the ASU Study Abroad Office. A longstanding program led by Associate Professor of Italian Juliann Vitullo, students take immersive Italian language courses in a 13,000-inhabitant Italian town, San Severino Marche.

“Students got an inside look at co-op produce. They saw 10 farms and got to witness infrastructure developing with CSA (community-supported agriculture), the business and the lack of infrastructure for farming in Phoenix,” Vitullo said.

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Study abroad programs in Cuba, Costa Rica teach students about sustainability

School of Sustainability News

August 2, 2018

3 ASU students show ASU pitchfork hand signals on a street in CubaDuring spring 2018, 14 Arizona State University students spent nine days in Havana, Cuba through the School of Sustainability program, “Cuba: Unlocked and On the Edge of Rapid Transitions.” This study abroad opportunity, offered in partnership with the Council on International Educational Exchange, allowed students from six ASU colleges to dive deeper into areas of energy systems, food systems, waste management, social equity and economy.

Students lived with host families during the program to better understand what it’s like to be Cuban during a time of economic struggle coupled with an increase in tourism due to the country’s newly opened borders. Through various off-the-beaten-path learning experiences, such as visiting urban gardens and volunteering in neighborhoods and waste facilities, students were able to interact with Cuban citizens and observe first-hand some of the complex issues exacerbated by the burst of tourism.

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Sustainability students graduating at high rates, winning elite scholarships

Board Letter School of Sustainability News Alumni and Student Spotlights

July 31, 2018

Student wearing maroon and gold graduation own walks among graduatesThe statistics are in: 81 percent of Arizona State University freshmen who enrolled in the School of Sustainability in fall 2013 graduated from ASU in four years. This is higher than the university’s overall four-year graduation rate.

Though all of the students included in the 81 percent started out in the School of Sustainability, about seven percent of them changed their major at some point.

“It’s okay if a student changes their major during their time at ASU,” said Lisa Murphy, Director of Academic Services at the School of Sustainability. “It’s important that students find the right major for them.”

Still, even with a small percentage of students shifting gears, the School of Sustainability holds one of the highest graduation rates at ASU. As of spring 2017, 1,098 students have graduated from the School of Sustainability since it opened in 2007.

ASU students, including students from the School of Sustainability, are winning more prestigious scholarships and fellowships than ever before.

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ASU sustainability alumnus Andy Stein named to '36 Under 36' list

School of Sustainability News Alumni News Alumni and Student Spotlights

July 17, 2018

Andy Stein smilingArizona State University School of Sustainability alumnus Andy Stein was just named to the seventh annual “Double Chai in the Chi: 36 Under 36” list, selected by the Jewish United Fund of Metropolitan Chicago’s Young Leadership Division (YLD). The list highlights the societal contributions of Chicago’s young Jewish population.

“To see so many people creating new opportunities that better our community is truly inspiring,” said Alex Entratter, current YLD campaign chair and former honoree. “This is just the beginning of a bright future for these individuals and the community they are impacting."

Stein graduated from ASU with a Master of Sustainability Solutions. While at ASU, Stein was concurrently a Project Manager for the Walton Sustainability Solutions Initiatives. Now, Stein is a Sustainability Program Coordinator at Northwestern University, where he focuses on the university’s Built Environment Program. He has a particular interest in sustainable building practices and incorporating sustainability into business operations.

When asked by the “36 Under 36” list’s organizers to describe himself in 10 words or less, Stein responded: “Passionate about creating a healthy and sustainable future for everyone.”

Meet sustainability alumna Diane Trimble

School of Sustainability News Alumni News Alumni and Student Spotlights

July 12, 2018

Diane Trimble stands with Dean Chris Boone at the School of Sustainability convocation as she receives her master's degreeDiane Trimble now has two degrees from Arizona State University, but the journey to those achievements wasn’t easy. Trimble dropped out of college in Nevada in the mid-1990s, but in recent years, she wanted to become a better role model for her sons and community. Thus, she enrolled in online classes at Arizona State University through the Starbucks College Achievement Plan partnership and earned a bachelor’s degree in organizational leadership in 2016. But she didn’t stop there. This year, Trimble graduated from the Executive Master of Sustainability Leadership (EMSL) program in the School of Sustainability.

We asked Diane questions about how her ASU education has changed her life for the better and what sustainability means to her.

Question: What was your “aha” moment when you realized you wanted to study the field you majored in?

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Meet sustainability master's student Anthony Contento

School of Sustainability News

July 10, 2018

Anthony Contento stands near a sign for his business, Contento RecyclingAnthony Contento, an Arizona State University School of Sustainability student, wasn’t looking to get a master’s degree. But after he found out about the Master of Sustainability Leadership, he couldn’t help but enroll. It was the perfect opportunity to learn how to apply sustainable practices to his family's New York business in construction and demolition debris recycling.

On top of working on his master’s degree, Contento recently earned a LEED Green Associate certificate because, he said, “the area of green building is closely related to construction and demolition debris recycling.”

Contento answered a few questions for us about how he will use his sustainability degree to build a more sustainable future in New York State, where he lives.

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

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Student helps expand bike share program, LEED certification in Phoenix neighborhood

School of Sustainability News Sustainability Connect Successes

July 9, 2018

Ethan McCloskeyDuring a 4 month internship, Ethan McCloskey, a Bachelor’s of Science student at the School of Sustainability, used his drive and work ethic to participate in the Stardust Affordable Housing Internship with the City of Phoenix. The department was so impressed with his work that now, after graduation, he is employed with his former supervisor expanding on the projects he worked on as an undergrad.

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