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Sustainability News

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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Sustainability alumnus to receive Construction Management Association of America scholarship

June 10, 2019

Curt TrumanCurt Truman, a 2016 alumnus of Arizona State University's Master of Sustainability Solutions, has been selected to receive the 2019 CMAA Graduate Student Scholarship Award from the Construction Management Association of America, Metro New York/New Jersey Chapter. He will be honored at the CMAA annual luncheon on June 14 at the Yale Club in New York City. Truman is completing his master of science degree in construction administration at another prestigious university and earned a 4.165 GPA.

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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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Sustainability PhD student working to ensure international and minority graduate students’ voices are heard

May 29, 2019

Leah JonesSchool of Sustainability PhD student Leah Jones decided to run for 2019-2020 president of GPSA, Graduate and Professional Student Association at Arizona State University, because she wanted to make sure that all students’ voices would be heard and that minority students’ challenges would be addressed.

She won. Jones is now the first black president of GPSA, an accomplishment she called “bittersweet.”

“It’s encouraging to hold that title and to know that it is helping to increase the number of minority students in leadership positions, however at the same time I wish it hadn't taken nearly 15 years for a black president to be elected,” Jones said.

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Meet sustainability alumna Nicole Kinsey

May 22, 2019

Nicole KinseyNicole Kinsey grew up in Tempe, Arizona, so going to Arizona State University was a natural choice. The only big change she faced was the size of school; in contrast with the small Catholic schools she was used to, ASU seemed huge.

“I went from knowing everyone in my senior class to having classes bigger than my entire high school,” Kinsey said. “Communities like the School of Sustainability make ASU feel smaller and tight knit.”

Kinsey wasn’t always a sustainability student — she added it as a second major a couple years into her ASU experience. This month, she graduated with bachelor’s degrees in both sustainability and global health. In her Q&A, read why Kinsey felt her education wouldn’t have been complete without sustainability.

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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 sustainability senior Rachael Granger

May 20, 2019

Rachael GrangerRachael Granger is a soon-to-be senior at Arizona State University majoring in sustainability and pursuing a certificate in sustainable food systems. After switching majors a couple times, she landed in sustainability because she wanted to be a part of a field that is finding solutions to the world’s biggest challenges.

Read Granger’s Q&A for more about her experience as a School of Sustainability student.

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Sustainability PhD alumna working to make slums more connected

View Source | May 15, 2019

Top down Aerial view of slum neighborhoodSchool of Sustainability PhD alumna Christa Brelsford is part of a team working to improve the lives of slum residents by using topology — a method that allows the team to mathematically examine the slums’ spatial structures and networks.

“This method could determine, for example, the fewest streets that would need to be added to provide street access to everyone, and at minimal cost and with minimal disruption to the residents,” describes author Stephen Ornes, who wrote about Breslford’s work in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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School of Sustainability instructor using fellowship to develop booklet for sustainability practitioners

May 10, 2019

Nancy MancillaSchool of Sustainability instructor Nancy Mancilla is among nine American professionals selected by Eisenhower Fellowships (EF) to travel to China for one month as part of the 2019 Zhi-Xing China Eisenhower Fellowship Program. These dynamic fellows represent a diverse group of leaders across a broad range of fields, including emerging technologies in smart cities, diversity and inclusion, sustainable development and renewable energy.

“This year’s Zhi-Xing Fellows are forward-thinking innovators, addressing some of the most important issues of our times. We’re pleased to welcome them into the global network of Eisenhower Fellows,” said Robert Gates, chairman of Eisenhower Fellowships.

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Project Cities students continue to impress in end-of-semester spring showcase

May 8, 2019

Project Cities Student group photoAs the spring semester came to an end, Arizona State University students shared the work they had been doing with Project Cities in partnership with the City of Glendale and the City of Apache Junction. The Project Cities program works to connect local cities with ASU students, faculty directors and academic courses to research and propose solutions to sustainability challenges affecting the communities.

Students from four classes worked with the program this semester. Albert Brown, an instructor in The Polytechnic School's Environmental and Resource Management program, taught 39 students in ERM 401/501 Hazardous Waste Management to lead the development of a project outline and work plan for the City of Glendale involving above ground storage tank inventory and compliance.

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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 Liana Skibbie

May 6, 2019

Liana SkibbieLiana Skibbie is graduating this May with a Master of Sustainability Leadership from the School of Sustainability at Arizona State University. Skibbie, a long-time employee of Starbucks, created a capstone project that aims to build a network of sustainability leaders within Starbucks to foster more sustainable behaviors, especially in regards to waste.

Though it’s not always easy to complete a master’s degree on top of a full workload, Skibbie said she would recommend the program to anyone interested. “This program has been incredible,” Skibbie said. “The professors have been extremely helpful and supportive through the entire thing.”

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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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Meet sustainability junior Jade Lantz

May 2, 2019

Jade LantzSchool of Sustainability junior Jade Lantz has been on our radar a lot lately. Last week, she presented about the benefits of community gardens in Phoenix from an environmental justice perspective, based on research she conducted through the Sustainability Undergraduate Research Experience program. In addition, her hometown newspaper, the Rockford Register Star, recently published her op-ed about food deserts: “My View: The solution to supermarket shutdowns may be in the schools.” In the essay, Lantz wrote that community gardens in schools can ensure that children still have access to healthy, fresh foods even if they live in a food desert.

We asked Lantz a few questions including why she decided to study sustainability and what sustainability means to her.

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Meet graduating sustainability master’s student Sophia Vitale

May 1, 2019

Sophia VitaleSophia Yvonne Vitale is days away from graduating with her Master of Sustainability Leadership from Arizona State University’s School of Sustainability. She said her inspiration to study sustainability came from a spiritual awakening in which she realized that all of her actions have impacts, and she wanted to do more to change the world.

Despite family tragedies occurring during her studies, Vitale was able to stay on track with her degree and learn a lot through her classes, school mentors, classmates and capstone project — a sustainability consulting project working with businesses. Read more about Vitale’s journey in her Q&A.

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Meet sustainability sophomore Nadene Hubbard

April 26, 2019

Nadene HubbardAs School of Sustainability sophomore Nadene Hubbard knows from personal experience, access to clean and safe water (or the lack thereof) is a prevalent issue on the Navajo Nation. Like more than one-third of Navajo Nation residents, Hubbard grew up without running water, and now she aims to use her sustainability degree and subsequent master’s degree in hydrology to “fix water quality and quantity issues on Native American reservations throughout the United States — starting with mine.”

Hubbard, who is also pursuing an American Indian Studies minor from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, said she originally started off at Arizona State University as an engineering student but realized sustainability was her true passion.

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Meet sustainability junior Daryn Lee Lieberman

April 24, 2019

Daryn Lee LiebermanDaryn Lee Lieberman is an Arizona State University online student pursuing a bachelor’s degree from the School of Sustainability. Recently, Lieberman presented a vertical garden project for elementary schools at ASU’s inaugural Change the World event (more on that project in the Q&A below), so we decided to ask him some questions to get to know more about him and his work.

Lieberman, a junior, describes himself as a “reconnecting indigenous student” and said that when he lived in San Antonio — where he started his undergraduate studies at the University of Texas at San Antonio — he organized a large march downtown in opposition of the Dakota Access Pipeline. Standing up for indigenous rights is important to him, and he said he’s in the process of starting a nonprofit that will “assist with sustainable development in indigenous communities — specifically to increase their sovereignty, visibility and ecosystem/community health.”

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ASU students gamify sustainability education with Kahoot! quizzes

ASU Now | April 23, 2019

Children playing games on iPadsAs part of Arizona State University’s efforts to advance sustainability education for K–12 students, a faculty-led student group created a suite of Kahoot! games to teach sustainability concepts. Kahoot! is a widely used platform to play fun, educational games called “kahoots” that are popular in classrooms and other group settings.

Through a new capstone workshop called “Innovation in Science Communication,” three undergraduate School of Sustainability students created nine quizzes for a new Kahoot! campaign, ASU Sustainable Futures. Topics include designing for our future, environment, sustainable food, social justice and energy. The students were responsible for developing the content and then demoing the kahoots in several middle school classes.

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