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Looking on the bright side of sustainability with a Penn alumna and instructor

“My approach is about how to apply a positive psychology lens for sustainability work—basically, what brings out the best within organizations and individuals,” explains Kim Quick (Master of Environmental Studies ‘15), independent sustainability consultant and Master of Environmental Studies (MES) instructor. “The formal definition of positive psychology is the scientific study of the strengths that enable organizations and individuals to thrive.

A Master of Environmental Studies alumna powers up her career in sustainable energy

“Climate change is solvable,” says Samanvitha Danda (Master of Environmental Studies ’20). “Some people think it’s a lost cause and don’t want to do anything about it, hence we’re not making a lot of progress. But the minute people understand that every action counts, and there is so much we can do to solve this problem, we get more buy-in from different stakeholders and we can make a change.”

Ana Margarita Olivos

Ana Margarita Olivos came to Penn’s Master of Science in Organizational Dynamics program from a small town called Calamas in the northern part of Chile. She ran her own organizational development firm that offered programs to individuals as well as public and private companies. As she explains it, “I helped my clients define and develop their professional interests” and Ana also explored how she could develop her own professional interests.

Cecil Johnson

Philadelphia native Cecil Johnson has always explored educational and developmental opportunities not only for himself but for the communities where he lives and works. When Cecil was in pharmaceutical sales management, he began to think about the future and where he wanted his career to head. He considered shifting to more of the talent management side but wondered, “How do I get there from here and what would it look like?

Jack Breiner

“I’m realizing as I go through the program how applicable and useful what I’m learning is in my job and in the real world,” shares Jack Breiner (Master of Science in Applied Geosciences '18), a Senior Staff Geologist at Langan Engineering and Environmental Services, “I take the material and skills that I’m learning at Penn and immediately use them the next day at work.”

Aaron Brodsky

Upon graduating college with a degree in chemistry, Aaron Brodsky conducted viral blood testing for the American Red Cross and then took a job creating generic pharmaceuticals. He now manufactures viral vectors for use in gene therapy—while also completing Penn’s Master of Chemical Sciences (MCS) program part time. Aaron chose the MCS program because he wanted to develop a broad knowledge base that would serve him well in his research career and position him for opportunities in industry later in life.

Joseph Glaser-Reich

Not everyone gets the job of their dreams, but Joseph Glaser-Reich started planning and preparing in college for his career as a rescue swimmer. “It's one of those jobs where you don't really have to wake up in the morning and wonder whether what you're doing is making a difference or not,” he laughs. Survival technicians like Joe are trained to maintain and repair survival equipment, administer emergency medical assistance, and work with a tightly coordinated team of aviation specialists to carry out maritime rescues via helicopter.

Noof Mohammed Al Jenibi

“We have a huge responsibility,” says Noof Mohammed Al Jenibi (Master of Applied Positive Psychology ’18). “Now that we’ve had a chance to be a part of the positive psychology community at Penn, we have to give back by helping others and being generous with our knowledge.” During her time in the Master of Applied Positive Psychology program, Noof studied evidence-based research and practical applications with world-class theorists and practitioners. “Imagine reading your favorite books, then having the chance to meet the authors and listen to their perspective.

Trisha Bhagde

In Penn’s Master of Chemical Sciences program, Trisha Bhagde’s physical chemistry research is concerned not only with atoms but with the atmosphere. “I have always wanted to understand the different reactions that lead to the atmospheric events that we see around us,” she says. “Global warming is a major issue now, and at this point, the environment is one of the most relevant things to study in order to understand where we’re going wrong and how we can fix it.”

Andrés Casas

As the managing director of a nonprofit organization based in Bogotá, Andrés Casas had plenty of experience with social change in the field. With Corporación Visionarios por Colombia (Corpovisionarios), Andrés and his fellow researchers traveled to municipalities around Colombia and worked closely with communities to develop solutions for reducing violence. “In countries where the formal institutions don’t provide the same rights for all people,” says Andrés, “you can’t wait for big reforms to come from the top down.

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