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Redefining our Relationship to Energy

MS in Sustainability Management alum Diana McCarthy
MS in Sustainability Management alum Diana McCarthy

Alumna Diana McCarthy-Bercury (’16) commuted from New Haven, Conn., for four years to attend the Sustainability Management program. Diana is currently working as an energy efficiency program manager at Eversource, an electric and natural gas utility that operates in Connecticut, Massachusetts and New Hampshire, specializing in energy services including delivery, energy efficiency and renewable programs.

What is your current job and what are the responsibilities associated with your position?
I am the program manager for the Energy Efficiency Municipal, Workforce Development, and K-12 Education programs. Currently, I am responsible for the design and implementation of municipal energy efficiency and sustainability programs. Additionally, I manage a workforce development program, training students in the technical high schools with the skills needed for the green building workforce of the future and K-12 energy education programs ingraining sustainable energy behaviors into the DNA of our future consumers.

What inspired you to work in sustainability?
I am passionate about the environment, and I determine to leave my mark by not leaving a mark. I am inspired by companies that work every day to balance their business with global responsibility and sustainability.

What has been your biggest challenge associated with sustainability in your current position?
I want to help redefine our relationship to energy. My biggest challenge is educating people that sustainability does not mean changing your quality of life—you can continue to have everything you’ve worked towards but, thanks to innovation and technology, you can do that using fewer resources along the way.

What has been your biggest accomplishment associated with sustainability in your current position?
In 2016 EnergizeCT including my program Clean Energy Communities was awarded the 2016 EPA and DOE Energy Star Partner of the Year.

What skills has the MSSM program taught you that you think have proven useful to your current position?
Multi-solution problem solving and intensive project management through the Integrative Capstone Workshop project.

What was your favorite class in the MSSM program and why?
Sustainability Technology and the Evolution of Smart Cities and Sustainable Agriculture—these two classes introduced new topics, and there wasn’t a moment of rest. We covered a lot of material, and I was constantly introduced to new technology and policy that is solving problems as new industry emerged.

How do you intend to utilize your degree from the MSSM program in furthering your career?
I look to broaden my work beyond energy, green building design and energy efficiency policy in the utility sector. I feel that my degree and course experience in the program has prepared me for my next career.

What tips do you have for your fellow students who are looking for a job in sustainability?
Stay in touch with your MSSM classmates, they are your professional network after you graduate! If you can’t find a company that does the work you want to do—then start it yourself because you have just identified the next industry gap.

What do you think is the most beneficial aspect of the MSSM program regarding your career?
Capstone. I was the project manager for the City of Athens Urban Heat Island Mitigation Plan. Capstone is definitely challenging but the end results—producing a real product that solves real world problems—is incredible and rewarding.

Diana represented Eversource in the All-Ivy Environmental and Sustainable Development Career Fair this year. She said she is enjoying being on the other side of the table, connecting with students and providing career advice.

The M.S. in Sustainability Management, co-sponsored by the Earth Institute and Columbia’s School of Professional Studies, trains students to tackle complex and pressing environmental and managerial challenges. The program requires the successful completion of 36 credit points. Those credit points are divided among five comprehensive content areas: integrative sustainability management, economics and quantitative analysis, the physical dimensions of sustainability, the public policy environment of sustainability management, and general and financial management. Visit our website to learn more.



Banner featuring a collage of extreme heat images.

Recent record-breaking heat waves have affected communities across the world. The Extreme Heat Workshop will bring together researchers and practitioners to advance the state of knowledge, identify community needs, and develop a framework for evaluating risks with a focus on climate justice. Register by June 15

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