Sustainability: Jobs Landed

2 Sustainability Jobs | Page:

Jess Daniel

I was drawn to the area by people who I met who were doing incredible things, and by a sense that this was a city where young creative doers were embraced and could find plenty of ways to be engaged, challenged, and useful. I have a pretty non-traditional background. Since graduating in 2006, I've led a staff of 80 at a start-up non-profit; managed product marketing for Google's email service for schools; wrangled with international donors at a local NGO in Cambodia; organized briefings on sustainable ag topics for congressional committee staff; and processed chickens on a small bio-intensive farm off the coast of Washington.

I didn't move for a job. I actually have no ties to Michigan at all, but really, I was drawn by inspiration and then had some really lucky turns of fate that allow me to support myself doing work that I love. First, though I hadn't formally applied, my advisor at MSU took a chance on me after we met a conference in Detroit, and helped to arrange a paid graduate student position. Then over the summer, shortly after arriving, with the support of friends and a whole lot of elbow grease, I started a little project called Neighborhood Noodle. Since then, I've been continually humbled by a community of entrepreneurs, activists, and plain-old Michigan lovers who have welcomed and supported me and my small fledgling business in a way that makes this feel more like a small town than a big city.  This is a place on a cusp and as a young person, my thoughts and actions seem to matter. I'm still a newcomer and I have a lot to learn about the area, especially its vibrant, sometimes heartbreaking, history, but I'm excited to learn and to eventually play a role in the new chapter that's being written here every day.

Job Title: Entrepreneur
Company: C.S. Mott Group for Sustainable Food Systems
College: Stanford University, Masters Degree, Education Research, Palo Alto, CA

Lauren K. Olson

As an environmental activist, particularly in the area of campus sustainability, my job is my dream job. The position was created right as I finished my Master's at Michigan State University in the department of Community, Agriculture, Recreation, and Resource Studies. I studied how best to communicate recycling to the campus audiences. In my job, I use the knowledge I learned during my graduate work and apply it to a wide variety of sustainability topics including energy, water, and transportation. In general, environmental work can get frustrating because the problems are wicked, but it's the people at MSU that I work with that keep me going. I created and manage a program called Environmental Stewards, where key persons in every department are trained on actions they can take and act as the resource person on what can be done to make their unit more sustainable. These people are amazing and inspire me every day. Additionally, I created and manage the Green Certification program, which gives science laboratories, offices, IT, kitchens, and living areas the ability to certify they are following the best practices. This coming year I'll be leading the effort for MSU energy transition outreach to get campus and public involvement in energy decisions. MSU has taken great strides to become more sustainable and I'm happy to have been there at those key moments and continue to help MSU. I think the greatest lesson I have learned from working on the outside to working on the inside is how difficult and multifaceted change is to operationalize because of the number of players and stakeholders involved.    

Follow me on Twitter @lolokramer

Job Title: Project Coordinator
Company: MSU Office of Campus Sustainability
College: Michigan State University, Master of Science, Community, Agriculture, Recreation and Resource Studies, East Lansing, MI

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