This fall, Columbia University will welcome the first class of students who will graduate from the newly created Climate School. Drawing on the expertise within the Earth Institute and its many centers, the Columbia Climate School will serve as a hub for transdisciplinary climate research and education across the university, exploring and developing solutions to the most urgent and complex challenges of our time.
The M.A. in Climate and Society program is the first degree program offered through the Columbia Climate School. This 12-month interdisciplinary program trains students to understand and address the impacts of climate change and climate variability on society and the environment. The program’s class of 97 students enrolling in fall 2021 will graduate from the Columbia Climate School in August 2022. State of the Planet will be featuring interviews with several of these extraordinary students over the coming weeks.
Below, you can learn about Pucheng Xuan, who hails from Shanghai and plans to work in venture capital investing, with a specific focus on financing innovative climate change solutions.
Can you tell us a little bit about your background and how you got interested in studying climate?
Climate change, to me, is a topic that could hardly be evaded in nearly every field that I approached. Majoring in Sustainable Urban Environments at NYU Tandon, I have learned the fundamentals of using urban planning and public policies to achieve urban sustainability and resilience, which is a goal in tackling climate change. My academic learning has taught me the importance of including the climate factor in no matter what fields of study, and has equipped me with the fundamental tools to analyze issues related to urban environments and climate change.
Which classes are you most excited about in the Climate and Society program?
I am most excited about the Applications in Climate and Society course. This course would take me directly to actual challenges resulting from climate change. By knowing how solutions to these challenges would be valued, I will learn how to determine the feasibility for a specific solution to climate change in my future career.
How does the program align with your career goals?
My career goal is to participate in venture capital investments in innovative climate change solutions. A venture capital investment job does not only require financial expertise; more importantly, one should know the hidden logic of a specific industry. I wanted to participate in investments in climate change solutions, and the C+S program will equip me with the knowledge I need in my future career.
You’ll be part of the first graduating class of the Columbia Climate School. Did the creation of the Climate School affect your decision to apply to the C+S program?
Absolutely, yes. The creation of the Climate School has symbolized the importance of climate research, and will bring more attention to the C+S program.
When you look at the future of the Climate School, what would you like to see?
I would like to see more cooperation between the Climate School and other schools. As I mentioned, the climate is an inevitable topic in many industries. I believe there are a lot more topics related to climate effects to explore in other fields covered by other schools at Columbia.