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.

FEBRUARY 4, 2017, 10AM-3PM

This workshop will introduce students to the concept of a Circular Economy, both in theory and in practice. It is aimed at those interested in learning about implementing real change in our businesses and economies. No prior knowledge of the circular economy concept is required.

The workshop will familiarize students with various concepts that underpin the idea of a Circular Economy, including innovation, new ways of capturing value, systems effectiveness and reverse logistics. It will also support the development of skills including design thinking, and an understanding of new business models, supply chains and value networks.
Students will develop an understanding of how to distinguish circular business practices from those associated with a traditional, linear economy. We will discuss the challenges associated with a linear economy, the impact of policy and how circular approaches can be practically adopted by different types of business.

There will be practical and interactive sessions through the course of the workshop. Be prepared to leave your existing understanding of what constitutes “sustainability” behind you, share your ideas (no matter how radical!) and work together to find more effective solutions to the environmental, social and economic challenges our world is facing.

FEBRUARY 25, 2017, 10AM-3PM

This session is for participants eager to gain knowledge about problem-framing, ideation, empathy mapping and how it can be applied to their current organizations, class projects or start-ups. 

The seminar is open to any student interest in learning tactics to innovate and model a sustainable business. Over the course of 4 hours, participants can expect a hands-on experience and a group activity to build and practice design thinking methodologies applied to sustainability challenges. The workshop will create a space to brainstorm ideas that can change organizations, products and processes, with the potential to generate environmental, social and economic benefits.

MARCH 25, 2017, 10AM-3PM

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. Your resume and other marketing materials got you in the door; now let’s look at how you create a professional image through the interview 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.

APRIL 22, 2017, 10AM-3PM

The workshop will provide a basic overview of how to set up a simple, visually appealing, user friendly website using WordPress. It will cover the differences and trade-offs of having a self-hosted website versus using a service such as We will spend time on the technical aspects of having a self-hosted website, including installation; configuration; security and maintenance. We will also cover Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and how to optimize content for Google search. The workshop is for beginners and no advance preparation or knowledge is needed. Attendees should come with a basic idea of a website they would like to create, as part of the workshop will be devoted to working on your own project.

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