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.

Advanced Sustainability Career Workshop
February 3, 2018, 10am-3pm
Instructor: Cathy Gibbons, Assistant Director, Alumni Career Development, Graduate Student Career Development
Location: Fayerweather Room 301M

This workshop is dedicated to helping you to research the sustainability industry, find employers, and develop your strategy for approaching, interviewing and negotiating with employers. We will look at strategies and sites that will help you to optimize your job search and begin your networking process - including how to prepare for a career fair. Your resume and other marketing materials got you in the door; now let’s look at how you create a professional image through networking, interviewing and negotiating stage so that you will land the jobs that you want. Resources to help you to continue to build your career planning skills and search jobs will be also be discussed.

Introduction to Environmental Law
February 10, 2018, 10am-3pm
Instructor: Michael Burger, Executive Director, Sabin Center for Climate Change Law
Location: Fayerweather Room 301M

This seminar will provide a broad overview of U.S. environmental law. It will introduce the principal federal statutes -- the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, the National Environmental Policy Act, the Superfund law, the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, and the Endangered Species Act, as well as their state counterparts. It will discuss the role of EPA, Congress, the courts, and state and local governments. The laws relevant to climate change and to environmental justice will receive special attention.

How to Write a Blog/ Op Ed
March 3, 2018, 10am-3pm
Instructor: Claudia Dreifus, Interviewer & Reporter, New York Times & Science Times
Location: Fayerweather Room 301M

Now more than ever, the media needs science and sustainability professionals who can write with style and clarity.  This seminar will teach you how to write blog posts that win large audiences and opinion pieces that are worthy of being published in newspapers and magazines. You will learn skills that enable you to take the essential first steps towards writing effective pieces and sharing your ideas with the public. The seminar will be taught by prize winning science journalist Claudia Dreifus, a contributor to the New York Times Science section and a professor in the Masters of Sustainability Management program.

Health and Wellness in the Built Environment: WELL Rating System Overview and Training
April 14, 2018, 10am-4pm
Instructor: Stephen Burke, Sustainability Manager, Consigli Construction Co., Inc; Blake Jackson, Sustainability Design Leader, Associate, Stantec Architecture
Location: Fayerweather Room 301M

There is an increasing interest around how the built environment impacts our health, and the design community is becoming much more proactive about incorporating evidence-based approaches to better impact occupant health and well-being.  However, these concepts move beyond the traditional scope of design professionals, and any corporate sustainability practitioner will benefit from understanding how leading thinkers have created metrics for targeting occupant wellness in the workplace.  Come and learn about the leading rating system being used for health and wellness in design, the WELL Building Rating System. 

No prior knowledge of health and wellness or design is required, and everyone will walk away with a broader knowledge of how to conceptualize holistic sustainability management.  For those interested, they will be well-equipped after this training to pursue accreditation as a WELL Accredited Professional.

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.

Coaching for Sustainability Writing

Students, alumni and faculty have access to one-on-one writing coaching with prize winning science journalist Claudia Dreifus, a contributor to the New York Times Science section and the New York Review of Books, and a professor in the Masters of Sustainability Management program. The purpose of these sessions is to help turn academic work/personal scientific and sustainability interests into a form that will find another audience.

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