Name: Madi Sundlof
Majors: Environmental Studies, Biology
Why did you choose to major in Environmental Studies?
I was interested in ways that I could apply sustainability to a multitude of interests- science, writing, business, problem solving. Since environmental issues are relevant in all fields, I felt like I got an opportunity to learn a wide variety of topics and areas of study. I also feel passionate about being intentional in all of my actions and it gave me the chance to improve my lifestyle to better reflect my values.
What activities, courses, and groups that you were involved in at CSB/SJU did you find most valuable when applying for jobs/school after graduating? Why?
I worked in the Office of Sustainability as a Program Coordinator and this has been useful throughout my post-college career. It gave me the chance to plan my own events, collect data from students, manage my own time, and organize the Eco Reps program.
I actually found that Environmental Geography was one of the most applicable courses after graduating. It taught me tremendous amounts about historic events leading to current issues and hands on ways of addressing them. Now in the "real world" I feel more equipped to research a problem, understand all sides, and come up with a feasible way to solve it.
What was your internship experience while at CSB/SJU? What skills did you have from courses and the department that qualified you for the position, and what skills did you learn?
I interned with the USGBC (U.S. Green Building Council) and Kraus-Anderson Construction during my junior year at CSB/SJU. During Environmental Science with Troy Knight we focused on sustainable buildings. This course made me realize my passion for sustainable design and promoting environmental trends in construction.
During my time I worked on implementing a composting program, creating a company-wide sustainability plan, completing LEED certification on an active project, and promoting environmental education programs. Having the ability to research, plan, and communicate were crucial.
What did you do after graduation?
After graduation I worked as a Project Assistant at an architecture firm and helped to run their sustainability program. I continued my relationship with the USGBC and served on multiple committees- including Emerging Professionals. This ultimately led to my current position.
If it differs, what are you doing now and how did you get there?
I am currently working at MEP Associates- a Mechanical, Electrical, and Plumbing design firm, as a Business Development Coordinator. The company focuses on sustainable and creative engineering solutions to reduce, re-use, and re-purpose energy within a variety of buildings. My role is to promote our efforts to the community, research upcoming work that suits the company's strengths, prepare proposals and language highlighting our environmental skill set, and create materials/graphics that display the sustainable solutions. This position grew from relationships within the USGBC and the green community in the Twin Cities.
What advice, if any, do you have for current CSB/SJU students on being successful on campus and in life after college?
The more people you know the better. You can learn so much from those who have been in the industry and people often go out of their way to help make valuable connections to careers.
Also, always be willing to listen to the other side. After college it's easy to believe that your solution is the best, but it's important to look at the big picture. Sometimes the most environmental answer is not the most logistical for the whole and those need to be considered when offering feasible solutions.
FInally, don't be afraid to think outside of the box and speak up. In my field I've often been the youngest or the only woman in the room. But rather than retreat I take the opportunity to show the knowledge I have to offer- it is almost always appreciated and shows that I bring something to the table.