Sustainable Growth Award Winners Mirror on Their Faculty Careers

Jun 17, 2023 0 Comments

Sustainable Growth Award Winners Mirror on Their Faculty Careers

by Kayley Beard |June 16, 2023

The Undergraduate Program in Sustainable Growth is proud to rejoice the exhausting work and excellent dedication of its latest graduates. Six college students from the category of 2023 earned Departmental Honors: Divya Agarwala, Clio Dakolias, Heidi Lichtl, Kiara Ordóñez Olazábal, Justas Pakašius, and Maris Welch.

Sustainable Growth Departmental Honors are awarded to college students with a grade level common of a minimum of 3.7 of their main programs and a minimum of a B+ in each programs of the senior thesis seminar.

On this highlight, we caught up with Divya, Clio, and Heidi to find out about their post-graduation plans, their understanding of sustainability, and their recommendation to present college students. Keep tuned for extra senior spotlights highlighting different Sustainable Growth pupil awardees!

Q&A with Divya Agarwala

What suggestions do you’ve got for college students who want to full the Sustainable Growth program?

1. Subspecialize. Whereas sustainability is usually regarded as a speciality in and of itself, it actually is so broad, and will be utilized to any business. So, select some sectors (or abilities, like coding/GIS) to start specializing in! Personally, I discovered myself gravitating in direction of transportation, power, and infrastructure, and selected courses and internships accordingly. On this vein, pursue a minor if in case you have area. I discovered the enterprise focus to be useful in making use of SusDev ideas and honing in on my pursuits.

General, I discovered ‘specializing’ to be tremendous useful in highlighting my abilities on my resume and when interviewing. Nobody is holding you to what you select, it’s actually extra about advertising your self.

2. Intern! Fingers-down, my finest expertise in undergrad was taking my junior spring off to work on the Tesla charging workforce. I’m assured that doing a semester-long internship taught me a lot greater than if I used to be simply there for the summer season. Interning on the Earth Institute communications workforce earlier than was nice prep!

3. Discover a neighborhood. As ex-Ecoreps co-president, this put up can be remiss with out a shameless plug. I made a few of my finest buddies, and met my future roommate, by means of Ecoreps’ weekly conferences. I additionally extremely suggest the SEE-U (Summer season Ecological Experiences – Undergrad) program. I participated within the NYC possibility and made so many buddies, discovered about inexperienced agriculture, and bought SusDev credit. What else may one ask for?

What are your plans after graduating from this system?

Taking a spot 12 months! I plan on solo backpacking in Europe and dealing on sustainability-related content material creation. I feel quite a lot of work must be performed in discussing the nuances of environmental points.

What drew you to the Sustainable Growth main or particular focus?

Don’t assume I have to promote anybody right here on the significance of tackling local weather change- like many, I see it as one in every of our largest and most urgent societal challenges. SusDev actually places you on the forefront of this international dialogue. Courses really feel extremely related, and everybody within the division from college students to school is exceptionally passionate and engaged. Actually a beautiful, supportive group to be round!

What was your favourite class within the Sustainable Growth program and why?

“Strong Earth Programs” with Dr. Sidney Hemming. Her ardour and pleasure for geology is extremely contagious and led me to domesticate a newfound appreciation for the sector. Want I may’ve taken it in particular person!

How did this system form your understanding of sustainability?

Majoring in SusDev helped me develop a large, methods lens, which is essential in higher understanding the size and causes of environmental challenges and evaluating potential options.

What was your largest accomplishment whereas at Columbia?

Touchdown my Tesla internship after tons of rejections — persevere!

Past the classroom, what extracurricular actions did you interact in?

I’ve tried every thing from Consilience (Journal Editor) and RHLO (Furnald Corridor Council President) to the Multicultural Enterprise Affiliation (VP). I additionally lived in Greenborough, the environmental SIC, and labored for the Multicultural Recruitment Committee as a tour information. I positively pared down on extracurriculars by means of the years to give attention to Ecoreps and courses. Additionally, I extremely suggest COÖP. Sure, it’s a cult.

Q&A with Clio Dakolias

What suggestions do you’ve got for college students who want to full the Sustainable Growth program?

This system presents such all kinds of programs — take courses in as many alternative focus areas as you’ll be able to! SusDev is nice partly attributable to its interdisciplinary nature, and I liked the chance this offered to find out about a various vary of topic issues.

What are your plans after graduating from this system?

I’m touring this summer season after which working for a 12 months earlier than going to grad faculty.

What drew you to the Sustainable Growth main?

Firstly of school, I had a extremely exhausting time deciding on a serious — there have been totally different facets of many majors that I favored. The SusDev main allowed me to discover how my pursuits operate in tandem, comparable to coverage and environmental science. Additionally, throughout the main, you’ve got quite a lot of freedom to discover programs and subjects that curiosity you, which actually appealed to me.

What was your favourite class within the Sustainable Growth program and why?

The Senior Capstone Workshop! We created an electrification plan for Columbia’s autos, our group simply had a lot enjoyable working collectively. It additionally was nice to expertise engaged on questions regarding sustainability in a workforce. Such interdisciplinary questions are tackled a lot extra successfully when numerous viewpoints work collectively in a collaborative area.

What was your largest accomplishment whereas at Columbia?

I feel my senior thesis, which explored migration and environmental stress in West Africa! Whereas fairly a traumatic expertise at occasions, it felt so fulfilling to finish. I gained important perception into qualitative analysis processes, and discovered easy methods to current my analysis extra successfully, each orally and in writing.

Q&A with Heidi Lichtl

What suggestions do you’ve got for college students who want to full the Sustainable Growth program?

Get pleasure from and recognize the complete breadth of the SDEV program, which provides us such an unimaginable survey of the information and abilities that may assist us to maintain and enhance the world. That being stated, although, don’t be afraid to get particular and comply with what intrigues you. A category on meals, public well being, and coverage my junior 12 months adopted by an unimaginable course on qualitative analysis strategies for SDEV with Lisa Dale — each considerably random selections for me that simply sounded intriguing — ended up completely reshaping my passions and giving me an entire new outlook on my plans post-graduation.

I’ve felt notably grateful for the SDEV program due to the eagerness and want for engagement that our professors and directors have. Be sure that to make the most of their unimaginable wealth of information and different sources that they’re completely satisfied to offer you, not simply with reference to course content material or planning at Columbia but additionally to consider your future and what within the vast world of SDEV-related careers which are obtainable for us following commencement.

I fell in love with Sustainable Growth due to its breadth, its constructive ethos, its deep relevance to the world, and the eagerness displayed by my lecturers and classmates. When you get to discover the SDEV program by means of coursework, keep in mind to nonetheless be wanting past it: take alternatives to do related work each time you’ll be able to, attain out about internships and funding alternatives, write a thesis on one thing you’re obsessed with. Get excited for the world past Columbia and all of the ways in which you need to use what you’ve discovered to alter it.

What are your plans after graduating from this system?

I’ll be spending the following 12 months in Spain solidifying my Spanish abilities and taking time to refine my passions and plans for the long run whereas I train English to youngsters at a public faculty. I’m ultimately hoping to discover a graduate program that mixes my passions for neighborhood well being, meals methods, and refugee well being crises, notably in Latin America, the place my household is from. I’m excited to refine my passions and deepen my information of the world, and I’m additionally simply actually excited to have extra time to pursue private passions and tasks together with persevering with the analysis I did for my senior thesis venture working with the New York Metropolis Division of Well being and Psychological Hygiene on their Stellar Farmers Market program.

What drew you to the Sustainable Growth main or particular focus?

It was so expansive and was the primary topic that mixed all of the issues I liked about biology and psychology and sociology and ecology and put them in direction of this unimaginable purpose of serving to the world maintain itself. I’ve all the time been obsessed with serving to individuals and giving again for all of the alternatives which have been given to me, and SDEV confirmed me a technique to not solely assist individuals but additionally use my passions and private abilities to take action in such an unimaginable and interesting approach.

What was your favourite class within the Sustainable Growth program and why?

The capstone workshop class was a extremely unimaginable and rewarding expertise for me for therefore many causes. Firstly, engaged on a workforce was interpersonally superb in permitting me to attach with my classmates in a extremely small and centered working setting. It taught me that being part of a workforce is certainly one thing I would like sooner or later after which gave me the talents to have the ability to achieve this. Additionally it was simply actually rewarding to really apply not solely my particular information but additionally extra typically my important considering and different abilities to provide one thing for our shopper. I discovered it deeply rewarding to not point out actually enjoyable! I used to be additionally very fortunate to have a terrific shopper (CU Transportation) and a fully unimaginable professor, Jenna Lawrence, who supported us by means of the entire course of, was a caring and educated mentor, and maintained a passionate, constructive power all through the method.

What was your largest accomplishment whereas at Columbia?

Engaged on and ending my senior thesis on the Stellar Farmers Market program in NYC. It was an extended and difficult course of that taught me rather a lot and was in the end extremely rewarding. It additionally helped me totally understand my ardour for analysis and neighborhood well being. I’m wanting ahead to persevering with to refine the analysis with my mentor Pam Koch and hopefully get it printed!

For info on this system and upcoming occasions, please go to the Undergraduate Program in Sustainable Growth web site.



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