Academic ambassadors

Former students represent their alma mater and are critical members of the higher education community. When alumni band together it helps universities stay strong. The Institute of the Environment and Sustainability hosted an Environmental Science and Engineering Program reunion, inviting graduates back to campus for an Alumni Dinner.

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Alumni from ESE’s initial years compared notes with recent graduates and members of the newest cohort of doctoral students. Professors caught up with former pupils, now accomplished professionals.

ESE Faculty Advisory Committee Chair Keith Stolzenbach formally began the evening’s program by elaborating on ESE’s evolution since moving to the IoES last year: a modified curriculum that is more flexible and responsive to the goals of individual students, approval from Graduate Division to let interns register in abstensia (an 85% reduction in fees), and greater engagement of faculty across campus as advisors and Problems Course partners. Professor Stolzenbach also identified the program’s top priorities:

  • Protect students from high fees
  • Increase the number of qualified admitted students
  • Strengthen the relationships between students, faculty, and alumni
  • Build the endowment and raise funds for additional resources

Dr. Fred Gerringer (Class of 2009) spoke about the importance of alumni engagement. He said, “Alumni can support the continued success of the program by activities such as helping students find internships and donating to the endowment.  The ESE Alumni Society is working with the Institute to develop a mentorship program and speaker series to increase alumni interaction with students, faculty, and staff.”

ESE alumnus and IoES Associate Director Mark Gold talked about the recently unveiled UCLA Grand Challenge. The overarching challenge is to make the L.A. region 100% reliant on renewable energy and local water supplies with no loss of native biodiversity by 2050. “Thriving in a Hotter Los Angeles” aims to build a smart electrical grid and smart metering systems, construct a carbon-free transportation infrastructure and public transit system, and create new energy and water technologies — engineering efforts ESE graduates have been working towards for decades, said Dr. Gold.

As ESE’s academic ambassadors, alumni can be of service to the program and assist in shaping its future. To help support the Environmental Science and Engineering Doctorate Program click here