Professional Development

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 2016- descriptions to be posted by August 2016

SEPTEMBER 24, 2016, 10:00AM-2:00PM
LOCATION: Room 312 Math

In today’s global, complex, and hyper-competitive world, stakeholders compel large organizations to engage with them; and many organizations also find significant value in doing so proactively.  Such stakeholders include, but are not limited to investors, employees, consumers, regulators, non-governmental organizations, communities, and supply chain partners.  While stakeholder engagement is not new, it is now a part of widely-adopted reporting standards and generally accepted as integral to an organization’s sustainability and success.  Those companies that actively engage with their stakeholders enhance their public legitimacy, and better understand risks and opportunities.  Conversely, ignoring critical signals from stakeholders can lead to reputational damages, disengaged employees, loss of public legitimacy and customer loyalty, and stricter regulatory environments.

This seminar will outline the framework for quality stakeholder engagement, and provide cases for conflict and constructive interaction between stakeholders and large organizations, delivering insights on successful engagements.  It will provide a brief mock engagement exercise to show students how what they’ve learned may be practiced.  It will also highlight challenges that stakeholders may face in trying to influence organizations.  Students will discuss, analyze and experience stakeholder dialogue and tools to resolve conflict between business and societal actors, and help discover new opportunities.  In doing so, students will gain a better understanding of ways in which businesses and other organizations can respond to stakeholder claims and most effectively align business and societal interests.

Who should attend:  students and alumni of sustainability-related programs.  No special preparation or equipment is necessary for this seminar.

OCTOBER 8, 2016, 10:00AM-2:00PM
LOCATION: Room 312 Math

This workshop is designed for people who want to become more confident, persuasive, and polished public speakers.   Whether you are delivering a class presentation, delivering your final Capstone, or talking about sustainability issues to an outside audience, this workshop can help you sharpen your content and become a more poised and powerful presenter.

To make the most of our time together, please bring two-three minutes of content to deliver in the workshop.  It could be the introduction or closing of a presentation you have already given, or a piece of a presentation you plan to give in the future.  You will have an opportunity to deliver your content, get constructive feedback, and then present a second time.   We will also be providing you with a handout that includes our best tips for overcoming performance anxiety and doing the right  kind of mental and physical preparation for any presentation.

OCTOBER 15, 2016, 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 should bring a copy of your resume and if available, a paper copy of your LinkedIn profile and pitch.

DECEMBER 2, 2016, 4:00-8:00PM & DECEMBER 3, 2016, 10:00AM-3:00PM (must attend both days)
LOCATION (December 2): Room 603 Hamilton
LOCATION (December 3): Room 312 Math

This seminar will introduce students to green building design and help prepare them for the LEED Green Associate exam. According to the U.S. Green Building Council, a LEED Green Associate credential demonstrates a strong understanding of current green building principles and practices.

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.

Sustainability Speaker Events (Upcoming Events TBD):

These events are held from 12:00-1:00PM at The Earth Institute offices, located at 2910 Broadway, in Hogan Hall Conference Room A. To RSVP please email us.

Practicum in Innovative Sustainability Leadership (Upcoming Events TBD):

Each spring semester, the Practicum in Innovative Sustainability Leadership host sustainability practitioners from the public, private and nonprofit sectors. The talks are open to students and alumni. Speakers from spring 2016 are listed below and future speakers will be listed in January 2017:

  • Lori Ardito, First Deputy Commissioner, New York City Department of Transportation
  • Howard Buffett, Executive Director, Howard G. Buffett Foundation
  • John Cheetham, Global Senior Procurement Manager, Tea & RTD, Unilever
  • Cynthia Cummis, Deputy Director, GHG Protocol, World Resources Institute
  • Douglas Durst, Chairman, The Durst Organization
  • Paul Gallay, President and Hudson Riverkeeper, Riverkeeper
  • Katherine Gajewski, Director of Sustainability, City of Philadelphia
  • James Gowen, Chief Sustainability Officer, Verizon
  • Alana Libow, Environmental Sustainability Manager, Dannon
  • Emily Maxwell, New York City Program Director, The Nature Conservancy
  • Paul Polizzotto, President and Founder, CBS EcoMedia Inc.
  • Will Sarni, Director and Practice Leader, Enterprise Water Strategy, Deloitte Consulting
  • Camilla Seth, Executive Director, Sustainable Finance, JPMorgan Chase & Co.
  • Beth Strommen, Director, Baltimore Office of Sustainability
  • Michelle Vigen, Senior Energy Planner, Montgomery County Department of Environmental Protection
  • 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