How old were you when you first became interested in sustainability? What sparked your interest?
As long as I can remember my family has been composting, growing their own organic produce and hanging clothes out to dry on a clothesline outside. Growing up, it was just a way of life that, as I got older I began to want to know more and more about.
Who or what drew you to study sustainability?
Again, my upbringing played an instrumental role. Growing up with so many facets of sustainability woven into my everyday life, it took a while for me to realize that everyone does not know what composting means. Understanding that there is, above and beyond a need for education and implementation has driven my path to assist with that.
What is your background before coming to work at ISTC?
As a fairly recent graduate, I have interned with the Missouri Botanical Gardens Earthways Center as a Sustainability Education Intern, along with being an Assistant Canvassing Director of a campaign office for the Fund for the Public Interest. Right before this position, I worked at Allbirds, a sustainable shoe brand that opened its first location in Chicago this year.
What are you looking forward to the most in your new role at ISTC?
I look forward to the variety of clients, partners and community members that I will be working with. Getting to know and understand the challenges and opportunities that different people and industries are facing will allow me to approach future projects with an increasingly broadened view on how to solve the problems that we face.
What question do you get asked most frequently about your career or the subject you study?
Most questions stem from a general misunderstanding of what it means to work in sustainability. In my position, there is not only one right answer to the question of what I do. That seems to be something inherently coupled with sustainability though, the involvement in many different facets of life, which keeps things interesting for me.
What are some challenges you’ve faced in your career?
Discovering where my true passion lies within sustainability has been the most notable journey for me.
What do you wish more people understood about science or being a scientist?
It can take many forms. Sometimes it requires sorting through wet trash during a waste audit or collecting data through meetings, phone calls or interviews. It is both hands-off and hands-on, and there is not simply one way or avenue to finding answers.
What advice would you give to future sustainability professionals?
Ask questions. There are so many technologies, industries, issues and potential solutions out there that it can be intimidating at times. Never be afraid to ask, to learn, to inquire about anything and everything new.
If you could switch jobs with someone, who would it be? (Doesn’t have to be a co-worker)
I am not sure of a specific individual who does this, but I have recently taken up soapmaking, and would not mind getting to let my creativity go wild in that department.