Professional Development

The Earth Institute Professional Development Program helps students and alumni achieve their career goals. The program offers skill-building seminars, networking opportunities, and tools that, together, better prepare students to pursue job opportunities in sustainability and related fields.

The Earth Institute's Professional Development Program helps students prepare for sustainability-related careers. The program complements existing services such as resume and cover letter review that are provided by Columbia University's career service offices.

Earth Institute Internship Program

The Earth Institute Internship Program links Earth Institute, Columbia University students with internships in sustainability and related management, policy, engineering, and science fields. The participating organizations are committed to offering paid internships each year to students in the Earth Institute's education programs. The Earth Institute too, provides paid internships at Earth Institute research centers. While all positions are paid, the duration, requirements and pay rate of each internship varies by employer.

How Does it Work?

Employers join the program by committing to offer at least one paid internship opportunity each year to a Columbia University student in any of the Earth Institute’s education programs. The internships are advertised to students as they become available throughout the year. To learn how to be come a partner, or to find out about current openings, please email us


       CDP Driving Sustainable Economies

Sustainability Skill-Building

The Sustainability Skills Seminars offer students and alumni practical skills that are specific to sustainability and environmental careers. The half-day, non-credit seminars are free. Past seminar topics have included Life Cycle Analysis, Geographic Information Systems, and Green Building Design.

Sustainability Skills Seminars Fall 2015 (additional seminars are still being confirmed)

OCTOBER 3, 2015, 10:00AM-2:00PM

First impressions will make or break your chances of being considered for positions. Your marketing materials (resume, LinkedIn profile, pitch and cover letters) are the first professional connections that you make with an employer or others in your chosen profession. You want to ensure that you create a professional image for yourself. This workshop will cover how to create marketing materials that meet professional standards and help you to develop a compelling professional story of yourself. It will also look at the components of a larger career planning strategy and the importance of a self-assessment as a foundation for formulating the criteria that you will use to select your next employer and job. You must bring a paper copy of your resume and, if available, a paper copy of your LinkedIn profile and pitch.

OCTOBER 24, 2015, 10:00AM-2:00PM

Today’s western consumption habits - inextricably linked to a globally aspirational lifestyle - are highly unsustainable. Yet, growth in consumer goods markets, and indeed consumers, continues at a staggering pace. To successfully drive change towards sustainable products, services and consumption patterns, it is critical for corporate sustainability management professionals to align sustainability programs with business goals and processes.

Therefore, this skills seminar is designed to cover fundamental principles of strategic marketing and consumer behavior from the B2C (business to consumer) corporate perspective. Through interactive lecture, case studies and examples, as well as, hands-on exercises, participants will learn how to apply strategic marketing principles to improve various aspects of sustainability in consumer goods markets.

Participants will learn the following technical skills:

• Market analysis: sizing, competitive analysis, segmentation, and targeting
• Identifying opportunities and formulating unique selling proposition (USP)
• Positioning products and communicating key benefits to targeted segments
• Strategies to reduce/eliminate negative product impacts while maintaining value proposition

NOVEMBER 7, 2015, 10:00AM-2:00PM


Students participating in this workshop will gain an understanding of both the current social media landscape and how to discern which social media tools can help achieve their organization's goals. Discussion topics include: an overview of social media platforms, how social media is used for social causes, current trends, how each platform can be tailored to your organization's strategies and using analytics and monitoring tools. We will look at how different socially-minded organizations are currently using social media. We will conduct interactive sessions throughout the workshop. Be prepared to tweet!

This workshop is for beginners, casual social media users and those hoping to expand use into their workplace or non-profit. We recommend students bring laptops.

DECEMBER 4, 2015, 4:30PM-8:30PM & DECEMBER 5, 2015 9:30AM-2:30PM

This workshop will provide an introduction to the LEED GA Exam to help students prepare for the exam. It will be split  over two-days, a Friday evening and a Saturday morning. Participants must sign up to attend both days.

Students and alums may register for these events through the Earth Institute Job List. For more information please email us


Past Earth Institute Sustainability Skill Building Seminars:

  • Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG)
  • Sustainable Agriculture
  • Product Lifecycle Assessment and Carbon Footprinting
  • Green Building Design and LEED training
  • Consulting 101: How Consultants Win Work
  • Networking and Interviewing Skills Seminar
  • Sustainable Smart Technology and Controls Seminar
  • Climate Adaptation Planning Seminar
  • Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Seminar
  • Sustainability Metrics
  • Greenhouse Gas Protocol's Corporate GHG Accounting and Reporting Standard
  • Public Speaking — Communication Strategy and Delivery

For more information, please email us.

Access to Sustainability Practitioners

The Sustainability Speaker Series features talks by leading practitioners, who discuss their work and their organizations, and who offer career advice. Networking events among students and alumni also provide a setting for learning about the job market from colleagues in the field.

Past Earth Institute Sustainability Speaker Series:

  • Lori Ardito, First Deputy Commissioner, New York City Department of Transportation
  • Howard Buffett, Executive Director, Howard G. Buffett Foundation
  • Cynthia Cummis, Deputy Director, GHG Protocol, World Resources Institute
  • Katherine Gejewski, Director of Sustainability, City of Philadelphia
  • James Gowen, Chief Sustainability Officer, Verizon
  • Alana Libow, Environmental Sustainability Manager, Dannon
  • Paul Polizzotto, President and Founder, CBS EcoMedia Inc.
  • Will Sarni, Director and Practice Leader, Enterprise Water Strategy, Deloitte Consulting
  • Beth Strommen, Director, Baltimore Office of Sustainability
  • David Walker, Senior Director, Beverage Productivity at PepsiCo

Networking events among students and alumni also provide a setting for learning about the job market from colleagues in the field.

For more information, please email us.

All Ivy Environmental and Sustainable Development Career Fair

The annual All Ivy Environmental and Sustainable Development Career Fair attracts top organizations from the private, non-profit, and public sectors to the Columbia campus. The Fair is open to undergraduate and graduate students from all Ivy League schools, as well as Earth Institute alumni.

For more information, please email us.

Job Search Tools

Sustainability Job List

The Earth Institute Job List contains employment opportunities in the field of sustainability. Students and alumni may upload resumes and cover letters, which the Earth Institute makes available to potential employers; they may store job application documents and job searches, as well as receive notifications for jobs that match their employment profiles. The Earth Institute Job List provides some 400 current opportunities at any one time, including a diverse mix of full-time, part-time, and internship opportunities. Access to this online resource is password protected. For more information, please email us.

Free Access to Glassdoor

We are pleased to offer students and alumni free access to Glassdoor provides access to millions of company reviews and ratings, salary reports, job listings, interview reviews and questions, and more. By using these tools in conjunction with the Earth Institute Job List and other campus career resources, students and graduates are able to make more informed career decisions.

Research Assistantships

The Earth Institute's research centers and programs offer paid research assistantships. Research Assistantships gives Columbia University and Barnard undergraduate students a valuable opportunity to collaborate on substantive matters of inquiry and a chance to gain meaningful insight into various fields of study and the research process as a whole. Examples of past projects include researching the impact of temperature and precipitation on malaria transmission; identifying natural hazards and risk management strategies for the Dominican Republic; and researching the impacts of infrastructure improvements in rural Africa.

For more information, please email us.

Earth Institute Alumni Network

The Earth Institute also has an extensive alumni network consisting of graduates from all of its education programs. Throughout the year, the Earth Institute organizes alumni activities, including talks, networking events, and social gatherings. To learn more, please visit the alumni website email us at