For Sarah Brylinsky, a freshman-year seminar at IC called Introduction to Sustainability was the gateway to a change on IC's campus—and a blossoming career.

"The seminar showed how people, profits, and the planet interlock," Sarah says. "I saw how I could be involved in social and civic justice and feel empowered. I had a path forward."

As an undergrad, Sarah introduced sustainability practices in IC’s residence halls, developed a campus-wide student climate movement, and co-organized a NATO advanced research workshop on the role of environmental security in higher education. Her efforts earned her the 2008 Student Sustainability Leadership Award, a national honor given annually by the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education.

After graduating, Sarah launched a successful careerchampioning sustainability initiatives in higher education. She led sustainability offices at Dickinson College and MIT before managing over 600 campuses across the United States as director of educational and climate resiliency programs at Second Nature, a nonprofit that leads campus sustainability efforts. Now, she serves as sustainability business integration manager at Cornell University.

Driven to learn new ways to spread vital messages and illustrate the importance of sustainability for the next generation, Sarah returned to IC for the master’s program in communications innovation.

"I started my career not because I wanted to be a climate scientist but because I wanted to communicate in new ways," Sarah says. "I want to make sure students in this country graduate with an understanding of sustainability as a fundamental part of their education."