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Columbia Climate School’s first graduates head for exciting jobs

Columbia Climate School’s first graduates head for exciting jobs

Photo: Michael Di Vito

As their summer internships come to an end, Columbia Climate School’s first graduates set out to explore the world to put their knowledge into practice.

These students have spent the past 12 months learning about climate change and the social sciences through the Masters in Climate and Society program. Offered by The Climate School in partnership with Columbia’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, the interdisciplinary graduate program trains professionals and scholars to understand and manage the impacts of climate variability and climate change on society and the environment.

What can you do with a degree in climate and society? Below are some examples that illustrate the various career paths taken by students. Their roles range from consultants and communications officers to scientists, and they lend their climate expertise to startups, government agencies, advocacy organizations, and more.

  • Throughout the program, Maya Kachapov has been one of the biggest advocates in its class for carbon removal technology. At the beginning of summer, she happily joins Capture, a startup focused on removing carbon from our oceans. She followed their CEO, Steve Oldham, from undergrad, when he was CEO of Carbon Engineering – one of the world’s first, largest and most successful carbon removal technology companies. She emailed him every year, commenting on his work, asking about job opportunities and giving updates on what she was doing in the carbon removal space. This year, when Maya was a week away from graduation, they had a call together in which he offered her a role in business development. She started as an intern and will continue to work there after the summer.
  • Liam McAuliff is passionate about working on the clean energy transition and was excited by the challenge of pivoting into a career as a clean energy analyst and strategist. Previously, he worked in communications at the Sierra Club and American Rivers. He gladly accepted an offer to work with the Ministry of Energy Office of Multilateral Engagement for Climate and Clean Energy through the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education. In his role, he will work on dialogue, diplomacy and international clean energy strategy with partner countries and organizations.
  • Several graduates, including Elisabeth Nguyenhave accepted offers to join the brand new Climate and Sustainable Development practice of Boston Consulting Group (BCG). Elizabeth initially imagined herself working for a non-governmental organization after the program, but was drawn to the opportunity at BCG to expand climate impacts across sectors. She is excited to work at BCG on a wide range of climate-related projects for businesses and governments to scale climate solutions. This summer, she was conducting research on climate migration and climate conflict for the Red Cross Crescent Climate Center and the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory.
  • This summer, Alisa Petrosova worked as a storyteller and researcher for good energy, a history consultancy for the climate age. Their mission is “to inspire, support and accelerate stories in scripted TV and movies” with the goal of integrating climate change into 50% of scripted shows and movies by 2025. The founder has recently asked Alisa to stay, as she has already become an important member of the team. In her role, Alisa works on the design and development of the consulting arm of the company. She conducts research for the development of climate storytelling workshops, using famous off-air shows as an exercise in integrating climate change into stories. She is currently working as a consultant herself – for example, helping the authors of a podcast world build a climate change 2070.
  • George Meddings work with CGIAR (formerly known as the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research), an organization whose work has been widely cited throughout its time in the Climate and Society program. In his role as Visiting Scholar in Climate Security, he will work at the intersection between climate-smart agriculture, household resilience and climate-related vulnerability. George has a strong desire to work anywhere in the world, so he was very happy to accept CGIAR’s offer as well as the opportunity to join his team members working in Africa, Central America and Southeast Asia. , after some time in London.
  • Nicole Loher came to the Climate and Society program with 10 years of experience in marketing and communications and felt the C+S degree could help her both step into a leadership role in her career and work on climate . At the beginning of the summer, she became responsible for digital and social content for Ethereal Diamondswhich transforms the CO2 resulting from the direct capture of the air into diamonds.
  • Hailey Edge works as a climate resilience consultant for SLR, a global environmental and sustainability consulting firm. She will work on climate resilience and adaptation initiatives at the community, state and regional levels.
  • In June, Sarah Hutchinson and her cat Rosie hopped in a U-Haul and drove to her home state of Michigan, where she had worked as a climate data science officer since April. She works with both Michigan State Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy and its alma mater, the University of Michigan, ensuring statewide climate goals are accurately monitored and assessed.
  • Briana Carbajal started as an energy justice policy intern with WE ACT for environmental justice in the spring and now works full-time as the organization’s state legislative director. They are responsible for coordinating the state’s legislative and policy work, advocating for state-level policy priorities, advising staff members on the current environment and climate policy landscape, and working directly with legislators and state agencies to develop programs and policies that advance environmental justice. for the northern Manhattan community.

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