Executive Master of Natural Resources Student & Alumni Profiles

      • Coke bottles
      • Jul 16, 2019 XMNR Alum Karlee Siepierski tackles sustainability management at Swire Coca-Cola

        Since graduating from the Executive Master of Natural Resources (XMNR) program at Virginia Tech’s Center for Leadership in Global Sustainability in 2016, Karlee Siepierski has both shifted fields and advanced in her career to become the Corporate Sustainability Manager for Swire Coca-Cola, the producer and distributor of many beloved beverage brands in the U.S. While at first unfamiliar, the beverage industry has become a platform where Karlee demonstrates her attention to sustainable corporate…

      • Valerie Winrow
      • Mar 25, 2019 Who am I to change the world?

        In these early days of the Executive Masters of Natural Resources Program at Virginia Tech, my fellow classmates and I are getting to know ourselves and one another, perhaps in ways, we had not considered upon entering this program. We are learning ways to build trust, as we establish working relationships towards our common goal, which is to learn and grow as sustainability leaders.

      • XMNR Student class photo
      • Mar 14, 2019 Celebrating XMNR and the Class of 2019

        In January 2011, when the first cohort of twenty students started the Executive Master of Natural Resources (XMNR) program at Virginia Tech’s Center for Leadership in Global Sustainability, the learning curve for our faculty was steep. We had a core group of experienced professors, but we were an interdisciplinary lot. Many of us had not worked together before. None of us had previously developed and delivered an education program quite like this one: a cohort-based, executive-style graduate curriculum specifically for working professionals. This was a new and exciting opportunity and we were determined to succeed!

      • Songdo South Korea
      • Jan 24, 2019 Green Building for a Better World

        Ten years ago, when the term “sustainable development” was just starting to gain traction in Korea, I was beginning my career as an international “green building” specialist. The timing was perfect. I was new to the field, and as part of my role with a major construction project, I had the opportunity to complete a professional certificate in Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED). Little did I know that it was the first step in a much longer journey that would literally take me around the world, including to the United States and India.

      • Sunset on dunes of Thar Desert
      • Jan 17, 2019 A Living Nexus of Global Sustainability

        Dust coated my hair, lined my throat, and stung my eyes while an open Jeep transported me deeper into the Thar Desert. The one-way sandy trail was unforgiving; dunes bounced me around while the sun beat a steady cadence across my back, and I contemplated how people managed to live in such a desolate place.

      • McAfees Knob
      • Sep 24, 2018 Developing Resilience

        Two recent alumni of the Executive Master of Natural Resources (XMNR) program are serving as skill-based volunteers in the nonprofit sector and are playing active leadership roles in Virginia’s environmental resilience. Ellen Graap Loth and Vestal Tutterow work in environmental consulting at Cardno and as program management at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, respectively, but have recently reconnected as board members in the organization, Resilient Virginia, a group dedicated to the vitality of Virginian communities.

      • solar farm
      • Sep 17, 2018 Confidence to Lead Sustainably

        In her former role at the U.S. Department of Commerce, Executive Master of Natural Resources (XMNR) alumna, Becky Long, discovered her passion for sustainability while working with international business leaders across different industries.

      • Mogollon
      • Sep 10, 2018 Leadership and Career Change

        Executive Master of Natural Resources (XMNR) program alumnus Hugo Mogollon had been conducting fieldwork for nearly a decade in Ecuador for the nonprofit Finding Species, before deciding to pursue a managerial role within the organization, graduate school, and then a career change with Community Foodworks in Washington, D.C.

      • wetlands lake
      • Jul 30, 2018 A New Focus on Wetland Functions

        I have always enjoyed the outdoors. Playing in the creek behind my childhood home, building zip lines in the woods with my brother, riding horses, hiking with my grandparents, camping with my father, and gardening with my mother and grandmother are some of my fondest childhood memories. While I still enjoy these activities, I now have a greater appreciation for nature. After studying and practicing wetland science, I realize that nature is not only beautiful; it is also beneficial. Wetlands provide many ecosystem services that benefit all living things – water filtration, flood protection, nutrient cycling, groundwater recharge, and wildlife habitat are just a few. Worldwide, wetland ecosystem services are valued at over 14.9 trillion dollars (EPA, 2016).

      • Nomadic state of mind
      • Jul 23, 2018 Building Trust

        Executive Master of Natural Resources (XMNR) graduate Kelly Watkinson has taken her skills in sustainability leadership to the national level, now working as the Land and Climate Program Manager for the Land Trust Alliance.

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