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Where there’s a will, there’s a waterway

MES in the Community, Meg Kramer

A Penn alumna applies business acumen to an emerging water research center

When Meg Kramer (Master of Environmental Studies ’18) enrolled at Penn, she already had a successful career in pharmaceutical marketing and strategic planning. She began to feel drawn to the environmental field, she says, when her oldest daughter prepared to go to college. “I kept saying to her that it's really important to do something that you love, something that inspires you. Then I realized that I’d better walk the walk,” Meg smiles. “As a mother, I don't think there's anything more important that we can do for our children than to make sure that they have a healthy and clean planet on which to live.”

Meg Kramer, MES ’18
Meg Kramer, MES ’18

Meg chose Penn’s Master of Environmental Studies program to prepare for a more scientific career but found that her business background complemented the program’s interdisciplinary approach. Drawn to courses taught by professors with industry experience, Meg took courses in corporate sustainability and environmental regulation. “Those courses really helped me understand the complexity and depth of sustainability, and how sustainability can benefit business,” she recalls. They also led her to her current inspiration and vocation. “Water is a human right,” says Meg. “We take it for granted, but you will not have energy or food without water.”

As she began her capstone research on global water governance, Meg connected with the recently established Water Center at Penn and immediately offered her assistance. “I have a lot of startup experience. The value I can contribute to the Water Center is that I know how to set up organizations, get processes in place, and manage the budget, strategy, and communications,” Meg explains. “I don’t have to turn myself into a scientist, I can help make the world of business and economics become more environmentally aware and sustainable.”

Now the Director of Strategic Development, Meg combines her business background with her environmental education to help the Water Center bring in stakeholders from industry, faculty, and the community to troubleshoot water problems. “I like to think of the Water Center as a water solutions incubator,” says Meg. “Water touches everything; it’s an issue that ties all life together. Everyone will have a different piece of the puzzle to contribute.”