Since its inception in 2010 as the Chicago region’s first sustainability BA degree, the SUST Program now has 80+ graduates working, studying, and/or volunteering in a wide variety of fields. Here are some selected alumni profiles, which we will update regularly:
Christian Cameron (BA ’14) is an Urban Forester Assistant at Openlands, one of Chicagoland’s most important conservation organizations, and previously served as a Youth Mentor for the conservation and environmental restoration organization, GreenCorps Chicago. Christian has also worked in the adult program, which offers numerous skills, certifications, and training within the ecological restoration industry. He does restoration work in forest preserves all over the Cook County region.
Maria Cancilla (BPS ’18) works as a youth dance instructor and after graduation began an internship in horticulture at the Shedd Aquarium and plans to build a career in environmental education. Maria was the 2018 recipient of the SUST Outstanding Student of the Year award, and during her time at RU was very active as a member of RU Green, the Environmental Sustainability Committee, and the STARS Analysis Team. A food and gardening enthusiast, she logged many volunteer hours in the WB Rooftop Garden.
Shannon Conway (BA ’15) currently works in the e-recycling industry as a inventory manager at Cellular Recycler in Boulder, CO, which specializes in the responsible re-use and recycling of electronics here in the US, rather than shipping e-waste overseas. As a senior SUST major, she traveled in the summer of 2015 to Denmark and Iceland, learning about glaciers and climate change with the Danish Institute for Study Abroad.
Tim Conway (BA ’13), a former marine inspector with the Chicago Park District, now works as a Product Analyst at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois, Montana, New Mexico, Oklahoma & Texas.
Karen Craig (BA ’15) is Manager of Special Events and Dining Operations at the Art Institute in Chicago. A talented writer and photographer, she published the essay “I Know It When I See It” for RU’s Writing Urban Nature project in May 2015 and presented on this work at the Fall 2015 SUST Symposium.
Colleen Dennis (BA ’15) is a Research Assistant in the Keller Science Action Center at the Field Museum of Natural History, where she works on expanding the museum’s photodatabase collection of neotropical plant specimens, developing rapid color guides for field identification of plants, and other biodiversity research projects.
Stephanie Eisner (BA ’13) is Grants Manager at the Caerus Foundation in Northbrook IL, and formerly a sustainability analyst and financial administrator at Old World Industries in Northbrook, IL. During 2014 she worked as a Logistics Coordinator at Green Iowa Americorps in Des Moines IA, and then participated in the RU sustainability planning workshops in Fall 2014. In the summer of 2015 she created the Roosevelt University Sustainability Studies Alumni group on LinkedIn.
Jordan Ewbank (BA ’15) after graduation traveled to Costa Rica for an internship offered by a non-profit research group known as CIRENAS (Centro de Investigacion de Recursos Naturales y Sociales, or the Center for Social and Natural Resource Investigation). He helped CIRENAS build their new research campus, a living laboratory for permaculture research in the tropics. Jordan spent approximately two months living mostly off of the grid, planting literally hundreds of trees, and completing research projects on permaculture, including biochar methods and improving soil condition with animal rotations.
Tom Gallagher (BPS ’14) has held a variety of jobs within the field of environmental conservation since graduating from Roosevelt. Currently he works in the maintenance area of the Lisle Public Works Department. Formerly he has worked in Landscape Maintenance in the DuPage County and Kane County Forest Preserves, restoration technician with Pizzo and Associates, and a crew leader at Radical Root Organic Farm.
Courtney Hackler (BA ’16) is a Water Management Specialist at LiquiTech, a water management company focusing on Legionella control and water quality assessment and treatment.
Mary Klotter (formerly Rasic, BPS ’17) currently works in the Purchasing Department at Roosevelt University and is a former environmental sustainability intern in RU’s Office of Physical Resources. Mary is an important advocate of campus sustainability and has mentored students in SUST 250 The Sustainable University the past years. She presented on her Schaumburg Campus-based sustainability efforts, including stewardship of the Community Garden, at the Spring 2015 SUST Symposium.
Thomas Lewallen (BA ’15) was accepted into UIC’s Masters of Urban Planning and Policy (MUPP) program and began his graduate studies in the fall of 2016.
Michael Magdongon (BPS ’13) is Pathways Operations Manager @ Amazon U.K. He earned an MBA in strategy and finance (2017) in the Rotterdam School of Management at Erasmus University in the Netherlands, and is the first SUST alum to earn an international graduate degree. He was president of the MBA Class of 2017 and was a Hult Prize 2016 regional finalist in Dubai. Michael was formerly a communications and analysis intern at VenturesOne in The Hague, Netherlands. While at RU, he interned during Summer 2013 at the Espaço Ciencia science museum in Recife, Brazil, where he worked as an Organizational Consultant and developed a marketing/business plan addressing issues, providing solutions, and suggesting potential opportunities for the museum’s science education mission. Michael ran his own business (Mag Auto Imaging) while putting himself through school as an undergraduate.
Jessie Crow Mermel (BPS ’12) is Communications Director and On-Farm Educator at Angelic Organics Learning Center, the education wing of the Angelic Organics CSA farm near Rockford, IL, as well as a master naturalist and environmental justice advocate in the Rockford area.
Mike Miller (BPS, ‘13) is a “sourcing specialist” with Nestle Nutrition’s Gerber Baby Food brand division, working specifically with their organic and non-gmo product line. As a student at RU, he interned at Uncommon Ground’s rooftop garden.
Laura Miller Hill (BPS ’16) is a special education teacher’s assistant at Lincoln Elementary School in St. Charles IL. Laura was honored as RU’s student commencement speaker at the December 2016 graduation ceremony, and one of several graduates featured that semester in this profile. During the summer of 2015 she worked as a sustainability operations and communications intern at the Field Museum, which she recounted in this series of blog posts and presented on at the Fall 2015 SUST Symposium.
Tiffany Mucci-Heitman (BPS ’16) was selected as the SUST Outstanding Student of the Year for 2016, when she served as assistant editor of the SUST blog, co-editor of the Writing Urban Nature project, a summer environmental sustainability associate in RU’s Operations & Planning department, and ecological restoration intern at Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie, where she remains an active volunteer. Tiffany is a holistic health practitioner, an outdoors and wildlife enthusiast, and freelance writer with recent publications in the highly-regarded blog City Creatures.
Bridget Powers (BA ’14) secured an AmeriCorps post working at a Boys and Girls Club on the Northern Cheyenne Nation’s Reservation in Wyoming in 2015. She spent this year writing grants, developing environmental education curriculum, leading field trips for children, and contributing to various community development projects on the reservation. Bridget wrote about her experiences for the SUST blog in January 2016. She now works as an Assistant Manager at EverSource.
Rebecca Quesnell (BA ’15) is the Sustainability Coordinator at Independent Recycling Services in Chicago. Prior to that she served as RU’s first Sustainability Operations Coordinator in summer 2015, a position she held in the Department of Physical Resources through summer 2016, and was co-leader of the STARS Reporting Team in the fall of 2015. She co-presented with SUST prof Mike Bryson at the SENCER 2016 Summer Institute (held for the first time at RU) a talk entitled “Transformative Sustainability: STARS, SENCER, and the Future of the University,” and was recognized with the SUST Outstanding Student of the Year award in 2015.
MaryBeth Radeck was an Environmental Sustainability Student Associate in the Office of Physical Resources from 2013-14, during which time she coordinated several landscape redevelopment initiatives at the Schaumburg Campus, including outdoor signage for the campus nature trail and the RUrbanPioneers Community Garden; designed RU’s sustainability “Green Campus” website; stewarded the WB Rooftop Garden; and provided student leadership on the Environmental Sustainability Committee. During her SUST internship in Spring 2014, she researched campus sustainability plans from US colleges and universities, and proposed RU develop its own plan — a process she then led in a series of workshops that culminated in RU’s first Strategic Sustanability Plan, adopted in the Spring of 2015.
Diana Ramirez (BA ’17) is the first SUST major to graduate with a double-major in Sociology, a landmark accomplishment that coincided with the merger of the two programs with the new Department of Sociology, Sustainability, & Community Development. She completed an internship at the Field Museum, worked as a summer steward on the WB Rooftop Garden in 2017 as a new alum, and also participated in the Field Museum’s Urban Ecology Field Lab program that same summer. She currently works as a Direct Support Professional AND Garden Club co-founder/leader at Community Support Services in Brookfield IL. Diana also serves as a Roots & Routes summer intern at the Field Museum and as a volunteer organizer for the annual One Earth Film Festival.
Emily Rhea (BA ’16) works as an Assistant Project Manager and Energy Analyst at Eco Achievers (Chicago), an energy rating and consulting company focused on green building design and certification. She is also an active member of the Chicago Sustainability Leaders Network, which she joined during her student days at RU. Emily pursued several internship and travel opportunities after transferring to Roosevelt in 2014, including working as a Microcosm film intern with SUST adjunct professor Michele Hoffman, a wildlife conservation intern in Hawaii with the Hawaii Wildlife Fund, and an urban farming/education intern at Plant Chicago.
Cheryl Roberts (formerly Cheryl Green, BPS ’14) was promoted in 2018 to Business Management Specialist providing Executive Support to the President and CEO of GE Renewable Energy, GE Power / GE Renewable Energy. Formerly she worked as a Project Specialist at GE Energy Management’s Digital Energy Division, within their Power Delivery group. She wrote this guest essay for the SUST Blog about her new position and her SUST education at Roosevelt.
Steven Roberts (BPS ’12) is an Epic Resolute PB Senior Analyst at BJC Healthcare in St. Louis MO.
Skot Rogers (BPS ’14) is a consultant in Business Analysis in New York City, where he tests inventory/sales software and producing training materials.
Ben Schulman (BPS ’12) is Director of Communications and Developer Outreach at (Not So) Small Change in the New York City area; and a longstanding writer on architecture, urban planning/policy. Ben is the writer and creator of Reframing Renewal, a “a multimedia series that looks at the legacy effects of urban renewal in select cities in New York’s Hudson River Valley: Poughkeepsie, Kingston, Peekskill and Newburgh.” A widely-published freelance blogger and editor, Ben was prominently featured in this RU alumni profile in fall 2016.
Alan Swartz (SUST minor, BS Chemistry ’14) is a Research Associate and Graduate Teaching Assistant while pursuing his PhD in chemistry at the University of Chicago. His research in organometallic biochemistry focuses on “the design of new catalysts to reduce the limitations of conventional synthesis.”
Sarah Tag (BA ’15) is a Quality Control Specialist for Client Experience at Verde Energy Efficiency Experts (Chicago), a company which “help[s] . . . organization[s] find, implement and maintain energy-efficient solutions that make a measurable impact on the bottom line.” While a returning adult student at RU, Sarah completed an environmental sustainability internship in the Office of Physical Resources.
Ron Taylor (BPS ’13) is Director of Parks Maintenance and Energy for the City of Harrisburg PA since 2017, where he spearheads a wide variety of municipal sustainability initiatives, including green energy production and wide-scale composting. Formerly an independent sustainability consultant for companies, organizations, and municipalities, Ron received the SUST Outstanding Student Award in 2014 and is former Director of Federal Business Development at the Chicago-based IT firm IYKA Enterprises.
Moses Viveros (BA ’17) works as the Store Manager at Foxtrot Ventures in Chicago and will begin graduate studies in Fall 2018 in Chatham University’s new Master of Arts in Food Studies + MBA dual degree program. Moses received a prestigious Eden Hall Fellowship within the Falk School of Sustainability and Environment at Chatham, which grants him a $10,000 per year scholarship and a $5,000 stipend to carry out community work in the summer. The 2017 recipient of the SUST Outstanding Student Award, Moses completed an internship at the Field Museum and worked as the SUST Program’s Sustainability Student Associate and Assistant Editor of the SUST Blog during the 2016-17 academic year. He led or assisted on many campus sustainability projects, including the composting pilot project in Spring 2017 as well as the WB Rooftop Garden that summer.
Jeff Wasil (BPS ’12) is an Emissions Compliance Engineer at Bombardier Recreation Products Evinrude Product Development Center. He has published and presented several technical papers on marine engine emissions including particulate matter, gaseous emissions, bioassay analysis, life-cycle emissions and alternative fuels, and has testified before Congress regarding ethanol-extended fuels.
Jesse Williams (BA ’15) began work in 2016 as the first Director for Sustainability at the innovative start-up Rust Belt Riders in his hometown of Cleveland, OH. A longtime cycling advocate, Jesse focuses on expanding RBR’s scope of operations and tracks data on their innovative methods of food waste collection and compost generation. Rust Belt Riders was featured in this widely-viewed video by the Huffington Post.
Amanda Zeigler (BPS ’12) is currently the Membership Coordinator for the Chicago Architecture Foundation. Previously she worked as a research assistant for the Emerging Pathogens Project and then in the Public Outreach office at the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago, IL.