News, On Campus

Green Careers Night Discusses Pursuing Careers In Sustainability

Boston College’s expansive networking reach—including events like Green Careers Night—can help students passionate about the environment kick start their careers, according to Kayla Pelland, assistant director of career education at Boston College.

“[Green Careers Night] is really meant to provide students with a networking opportunity with alumni and employers, and it’s especially for students who are interested in a variety of sustainable and environmental careers,” Pelland said. 

This Wednesday the Career Center teamed up with BC’s environmental studies program, the Office of Sustainability, the Energy and Environment Alumni Network (BCEEAN), EcoPledge, and UGBC’s Division of Environmental Sustainability to host Green Careers Night, an event where students can hear from alumni working in sustainability-based careers

Giovanna Eichner, UGBC Environmental Sustainability Division member and MCAS 23, said the event also encourages students with non-environmental career focuses to consider how they can include sustainability efforts into any profession.  

“You have a lot of different people from a lot of different industries here, and it encourages people who don’t usually do environmental things that [are] maybe interested in different industries to come and see how they can contribute to environmental commitment,” Eichner said.

Sari Kayyali, microgrid manager for GreenRoots and an event speaker, said she is currently working on a project to install solar batteries in low income housing and municipal buildings in Chelsea, Mass. 

“Traditionally, people who have benefited from solar savings are the people with the money to invest in it,” Kayyali said. “The medium income of solar adopters is over $100,000, so we’re trying to bring some of those savings to people who haven’t traditionally seen them.”

Robert Durning, executive vice president of GreenerU, explained how the company aims to help organizations reach climate neutrality through various services. 

“We deliver planning, engineering, and implementation services for the organizations that we work for,” Durning said. “We’ve got teams of planning consultants who work with the organization to pull together what an organization’s climate neutrality path should look like and benchmark where they are today and set goals for where they should be in the future.”

According to Durning, GreenerU also has a team of engineers who aim to help universities reach climate neutrality through energy efficiency and electrification. The clean energy solutions are then delivered to the company’s clients.  

Caitlin Connelly, BC 19, spoke about her involvement with Wood Mackenzie Power and Renewables, a global research and consultancy business that provides data and analytics used to support the renewable energy industry to organizations and governments.

“Fifty percent [of my day] would be research of markets, tracking policies, seeing what’s going on in the market, and talking to different solar installers and different companies about what they’re seeing in the market,” Connelly said. “The other 50 percent is taking all that data and insight, processing it, and then writing reports.”

According to Connelly, many of Wood Mackenzie Power and Renewables’ clients are banks, oil and gas companies, and utilities that want to be in the know of current solar market data and forecasted solar market data. 

Christine Smith, BC ’85 and BC Law ’88, said she wanted to find ways to help protect farmlands through her career. Smith now works as an attorney for the Department of Agricultural Resources in Massachusetts, a government department focused on promoting and protecting food sources in Massachusetts. 

“If someone has a big farm, they could sell it to a developer to make a lot of money, and then the farmland is gone in a good source for the Commonwealth,” she said. “So we have a program whereby we can apply those same development rights and pay [the farmers] so that they still own the land, but there’s a restriction placed on the land so it always has to be used for agriculture forever.”

Elise Dickinson, an event attendee and MCAS ’24, said she went to the event because of her interest in sustainability as an international studies major. 

“I thought [this event would be] a great way for me to get a view of some of the different things that BC alumni have done after college relating to sustainability and business and their careers,” she said. “So it was really just a great learning experience for me.”

April 24, 2022