Alumni Profiles

Alum Explores Intersection of Sustainability and Urban Economic Development
Monica Munn (’18) serves as the Director of Economic Development for the Union Square Partnership, where she leads the organization’s policy, advocacy, and sustainability initiatives.


Graduate Awarded Fulbright to Research Arctic Ocean Protection
David Prieto (’15) has been awarded a Fulbright-National Science Foundation Arctic Research Grant. While based in Iceland for the grant, Prieto will research the benefits of establishing an marine protected area (MPA) over the Central Arctic Ocean.


Alumna Travels A Different Sustainability Path in Bushwick
Agustina Besada (’15) serves as executive director of Sure We Can, a nonprofit recycling facility, community center, and a grassroots sustainability testbed wrapped into one. Some 500 canners work at Sure We Can, recycling an average of 40,000 containers each day.


Alum Named to 2017 GreenBiz ’30 under 30′
GreenBiz honors Courtney Small (’12) as one of the top 30 promising young professionals under the age of 30 in the field of sustainable business. Courtney currently works as a Global Sustainable Finance Associate at Morgan Stanley.


Columbia Alumni Making Sense of Sustainable Investing
Julian Seelan, Carolyn Roose and Kevin Lehman are helping to redefine sustainable investing. Seelan, who works with asset managers to make sense of sustainability data, said that the priorities of his clients shape the analysis.


How a Student Project Helped to Change JetBlue’s Course
Sophia Mendelsohn (’16) used the skills gained in the program to help improve the sustainability of an airline.An analysis of financial and environmental impacts, regulatory risk and customer expectations pointed to jet fuel as a key element of the company’s sustainability strategy.


Getting the Tools to Get Hired
Alan Burchell (’14) is the founder and principal of Urbanstrong, which markets and sells design-build-maintenance services for various green building technology systems, including green roofs, living wall gardens, solar-integrated-green roofs, and traditional rooftop solar electric.

Redefining our Relationship to Energy
Diana McCarthy-Bercury (’16)  is  an energy efficiency program manager at Eversource, an electric and natural gas utility in New England, which specializes in energy services. She is determined to leave a mark by not leaving a mark.

Resiliency Strategies to Sustain Businesses and Livelihoods
Krista Eichenbaum (’16) moved from Toronto to attend the MSSM program to better address resiliency challenges in cities. She is currently Project Analyst and Manager at a women-owned engineering consulting firm, specializing in civil engineering, urban planning, and sustainability.

Sustainability Bonds: A Personal and Professional Network
Energy efficiency, corporate sustainability reporting, and investor relations piqued Charlotte Peyraud’s interest and became her focus, and ultimately, her career as a Senior Advisor at Sustainanlytics.

Alumnus Designs Bird Habitat in Thailand
Chak Cherdsatiruk’s bird sanctuary project won the first price of the Asia-Pacific Larfarge Halcin Sustainable Construction Award in 2014 and is now under the final design development stage before construction.

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Alum Named to 2016 GreenBiz ’30 under 30′
Prerna Chatterjee (MSSM’15) has been named one of the 2016 “30 under 30” people to watch in sustainable business by GreenBiz. As sustainability specialist at BASF, helps businesses and customers in creating value through sustainability. She has also created the tool and infrastructure for reporting and measuring the key performance indicators for sustainability for all business units in North America.

Entrepreneurial Alum Creates Healthier Living Spaces
Christy Everett (’15) founded respondé furnishings, a sustainable furniture manufacturer in 2011. The program provided her with opportunities to connect to the industry, participate in industry panel discussions, and better engage with clients.

Alum Brings Solar Expertise to the Classroom
As a Vice President in the Finance department at Safari Energy, Dan Giuffrida leads the financing process for all of Safari’s commercial and industrial scale solar development projects. This summer he will be launching a new course, Solar Project Development.

Thinking Beyond Jobs With Sustainability in the Title
James Ossman (’15) is the Global Operations Manager at Etsy. He believes the MSSM program has been the difference between being interested in and passionate about sustainability, and being able to lead sustainability initiatives with authority.

Improving Buildings to Reduce Energy Demand
Maya Ezzedine always had an interest in sustainable cities and building design. She is now the manager of New York Passive House, a local non-profit dedicated to promoting the international Passive House standard.

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Educated Girls Uncover Unmet Design Needs
Diana Sierra (‘12) was featured on TriplePundit for her work with Be Girl, a for-profit social enterprise that she co-founded for the purpose of empowering women through design. Having had experience as a product designer for Nike and Panasonic, Diana joined the program with the goal to develop more environmentally and socially responsible products.

Teaming Technology and Clean Energy
James Kocher (MSSM ‘13) works in the photovoltaics monitoring sector where he helps clients measure and analyze photovoltaic (PV) solar production. His interest in the clean energy sector sparked during first semester in the  program, when he took “Financing the Green Economy.”

Sustainability Alum Leads Coach’s CSR Initiatives
Amanda Lechenet (’13) is the Corporate Sustainability Strategy Manager at Coach, Inc. in New York. She is responsible for the publication of the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) report, Conflict Minerals Program, and serves as a company liaison for all the sustainability related issues and topics.

Graduate Brings Sustainability to L’Oreal
Tara Helms (’15) has a background in supply chain management in the energy sector and was drawn to the program as a way to shift her focus towards sustainability. Throughout her time in the program, Tara took advantage of various networking and certification courses.Tara landed a new job with the new product development team at L’Oreal.

Using Impact Investing to Profit Within the Limits of Nature
Luke Apicella works as an impact investor in the Office of Corporate Social Responsibility at Prudential. In this role, he provides investment recommendations based on social, environmental and financial merits. Luke credits the program with giving him skills to analyze actual deals.

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Capstone Project Prepares Alum for Energy Efficiency Career
Marisa Hanson (’14) has gone from working on a capstone workshop project to design a national building retrofit program for Montenegro to a role as program specialist for a residential energy efficiency program in Santa Barbara, CA. Marisa has focused her sustainability career on making a significant difference on a local level.

Entrepreneurial MS Alum Finds Sustainable Solutions alongside Former Classmates
John Haugen (‘13) began his career in a management consulting firm. Upon graduating from the program, he, along with two of his former MSSM classmates, co-founded Third Partners LLC, a sustainability consulting firm which advises organizations on GHG emissions reporting, sustainable marketing, branding, and energy efficiency.

Alum Directs Energy towards Renewables
Jason Prince (’14) now works at Karbone, an integrated renewable energy and environmental markets company, as the Director of Research. Before joining the program, he worked as a wilderness guide in his native Canada. Jason has also worked for a non-profit organization that focused on community development in Central America, where he undertook a project to integrate small-scale solar installations at schools, and to promote the use of sustainable building materials.

MS Alum Leads Green Initiatives at McGraw Hill Financial
The analytical and collaborative skills that Jaclyn Bouchard acquired from the program propelled her to become the Manager of Corporate Responsibility at McGraw Hill Financial, one of the leading companies in credit ratings, benchmarks, and analytics. Jaclyn hopes to continue the McGraw Hill Financial’s efficiency projects and initiatives through her position.

MS Alum Constructs Career for the Built Environment
Steve Burke currently works at Symmes Maini Mckee & Associates (SMMA), a multi-disciplinary architecture and engineering firm for sustainable efforts in the built environment. Steve hopes to continue his push for sustainable solutions until it becomes fully embedded within his work environment.

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Alum Transitions to Career in Public Sector
Harry McLellan (’14) has always had an interest in the built environment. Prior to joining the program, he worked as a construction lawyer for 25 years. Now, working as a Senior Counsel in the Law Department of the City of New York’s Commercial and Real Estate Litigation Division, Harry hopes to integrate environmental concerns by promoting public works projects.

MS Alum Works to Bring Electric Vehicles to NYC
Stephen Marlin (’12) has always been a “car guy.” Now, as the Senior Business Development Manager in the East Region for BYD Motors, he works to bring electric vehicles into New York City livery services. He credits the MSSM program’s integrated approach to sustainability with allowing him to better understand his partners and turn obstacles into solutions.

MS Alum Applies Technical Skills to Renewable Energy
Prior to joining program, Katrina Prutzman worked as a manufacturing process engineer for 3M Purification, Inc.While a student, Katrina spent the summer of 2013 as an EDF Climate Corps Fellow. Katrina now works for Urban Green Energy, a distributed renewable energy provider, where she is responsible for ensuring the consistent product quality at the company’s vertical axis wind turbine manufacturing facility in East Asia.

MS Alum Transitions to Sustainable Healthcare
Lindsey Clarke originally joined the program with the intention of going into sustainability consulting after graduation, but an internship with Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center led to an unexpected opportunity. Now an energy and sustainability data analyst for Memorial Sloan Kettering, Lindsey works to bring greater sustainability and energy efficiency to the world’s oldest and largest private cancer center.

Sustainability Management Alum Works to Implement Rio+20 Promises
John Romano (’13) has had the opportunity to work on sustainability as a consultant in the private sector, as a sustainable community planner in the public sector, non-profit, and academic realms – and most recently for the United Nations secretariat in civil society outreach and engagement. Currently, John is a Global Fellow with the International Program at NRDC.

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MS Alum Banks on Sustainability Management Skills
While a part-time student in the program, Lizzette Butkiewicz (’12), was working full-time at a boutique trade finance firm with the hope of merging her interest in sustainability with her background in finance. Now, as the Manager of Community Investments in the Corporate Sustainability team at HSBC, she is liaising between the company’s philanthropic partnerships and creating employee engagement opportunities with key partners.

M.S. Graduate Aims to Create Sustainable Solutions through Biomimicry
Adiel Gavish (’13) thinks that we’ve all got something to learn from nature. As the vibrant Founder of BiomimicryNYC, the thirty-two year old is leading the charge to change the way that people design solutions through biomimicry – the science and ethos that studies designs and patterns in the natural world and applies them to solve human problems.

M.S. Alum Seeks Safer Chemical Policies
Mark Buczek (’12) utilized the program to supplement his existing career track in the chemical industry as the Co-Chair for the non-profit organization,, which focuses on helping organizations to understand and manage chemicals and select alternative materials.Mark knew that he wanted to be involved in the area of developing safer chemicals, and the MSSM program helped him figure out how to get involved.

M.S. Alum Applies Program Skills to Fortune 500 Company
With a background in environmental consulting, Evan Brown (’12)parlayed this experience and existing interest in sustainability into the field of corporate sustainability. As an Energy Analyst for Fortune 300 Company Family Dollar in North Carolina, Evan is pioneering the company’s first efforts to make its more than 7,400 stores and distribution centers more sustainable in their operations.

M.S. Alum Transitions from Hotel Management to Forest Conservation
Prior to joining the MSSM program, Uta Jungerman (’12)she had worked in the tourism industry as well as in finance. Upon completing the program last spring, Uta’s career path took her to Geneva, Switzerland, where she currently works for the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), a CEO-led organization of companies that galvanizes the global business community to create a sustainable future for business.

Sustainability Management Alum Embarking on Corporate Consulting Career
Sarah Gudernatch (’12) knew from the moment she started the program that she wanted to work in corporate sustainability. As a Sustainability Consultant at Two Tomorrows, an international corporate sustainability company, Sarah works on projects that require her to rely on the knowledge that she gained in the program in order to communicate suggestions and proposals to the company’s various clients.

Sustainability Management Alums Take the Entrepreneurial Path to Success
When JD Capuano and Sami Abbay joined the M.S. in Sustainability Management (MSSM) program back in September 2010, they both knew from the start that they wanted to become entrepreneurs. Over the course of the past two years, JD and Sami were able to make their career dreams a reality in the form of Closed Loop Advisors, a sustainability management consulting firm that focuses on strategy and operations.