State of the Planet

News from the Columbia Climate School


Student Spotlight: Kate Morsink, Future Sustainability Consultant

kate morsinkKate Morsink is in her final semester of the M.S. in Sustainability Management program and is the director of engagement for Women & Sustainability, a student group dedicated to empowering female leaders in sustainability.

This past summer, Kate was selected by the Environmental Defense Fund for the Climate Corps Fellowship to establish a sustainable packaging roadmap for Wayfair. Kate’s final recommendation focused on eliminating Styrofoam and plastic from Wayfair’s supply chain and moving to 100% responsibly sourced paper and cardboard.

Before moving to New York in 2021 for the SUMA program, Kate lived and worked in Canada, where she attended the Smith School of Business at Queen’s University. Upon graduation, she joined TEALEAVES, a luxury tea company that works primarily with leading hotel groups. There she worked as a business development manager, traveling the globe for client consultations and eventually founding the company’s sustainability program. She transformed their packaging and supply chain away from single-use plastic and linear practices.

Kate will complete the program in December, after which she plans to implement her knowledge of sustainability management at Boston Consulting Group, where she will work on their climate and sustainability team as a consultant.

What drew you to apply and choose the SUMA program?

My undergrad degree is in business, so I wanted to study in a master’s program that was at the intersection of sustainability and business. I chose the M.S. in Sustainability Management program for its diversity of dialogue and its reputation as a platform upon which people can build an impactful role in society. By earning my master’s degree in Sustainability Management, I am building a strong foundation on climate change, environmental justice, politics, and corporate sustainability, through a business lens.

Can you share some highlights from your time in the SUMA Program?

I have had an incredible time being a SUMA student and will be very sad to graduate at the end of this semester. A highlight for me was being on the board for Women & Sustainability. It’s been such a wonderful experience to get to plan events and development opportunities for the Columbia community and it has allowed me to meet more students and faculty across the school. This semester, I led the planning for our annual Uplift summit, on November 18, which was an amazing way to cap off the semester! I have also made lifelong friends from the program with whom I’ve had the pleasure of traveling the world with this year. I look forward to many more adventures together.

What have been some of your favorite courses or professors?

It is so hard to pick! A few favorite classes are Circular Economy with Danielle Azouley, the Earth Institute Practicum with Alison Miller, and Life Cycle Assessment with Christoph Meinrenken.

You’ve recently received prestigious recognitions and awards. Can you tell me about them?

This summer I had the pleasure of working at Wayfair as an Environmental Defense Fund Climate Corps Fellow. I facilitated collaboration across several teams within the company to develop a comprehensive roadmap for sustainable packaging and was awarded the Collaboration Award by Climate Corps for my work! This fall, I was honored to have been chosen as an Earth Institute Fellow by SUMA. And earlier this month, I was thrilled to have been selected out of 2,000+ applicants for Finduddannelse’s international sustainability scholarship!

What do you think is next for you?

I will be working in New York as a sustainability consultant when I graduate. I am looking forward to working with businesses to inject sustainability into their core business strategy.

Do you have any advice for current or incoming students in the sustainability programs?

The students in the program are truly amazing and also such a fun group of people! I would encourage new students to prioritize getting to know their cohort and to get involved with clubs or events on campus, so that they can meet students from the Climate School at large. Also, take advantage of cross registration opportunities outside of SPS and across Climate School programs. I have enjoyed taking classes in SIPA and in the Climate and Society program as its allowed me to meet more students.

The program knows you as an extraordinary student with a passion for sustainability. Outside of school and internships, where can we find you?

I love music and currently sing in the Columbia Choir! I also love trying vegan restaurants around New York and playing tennis.

The M.S. in Sustainability Management program is offered by Columbia’s School of Professional Studies in partnership with Columbia Climate School.

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