Students meet with Hamilton sustainability professionals to learn about green jobs

A grid of four photos of McMaster students with sustainability professionals

A networking event hosted by the Academic Sustainability Programs Office on Apr. 20th connected 47 students with over 21 Hamilton sustainability professionals (Photos by Caroline Ryan)

“We learn about sustainability in school, and now I can also visualize it as a job”

Sustainability jobs are diverse, and often don’t include the word ‘sustainability,’ says Kate Whalen.

That’s why the associate director of McMaster’s Academic Sustainability Programs Office says it’s so important for students to get the opportunity to connect with those working in the field.

Students recently got this chance at a Green Jobs Networking Event hosted by the Academic Sustainability Programs Office where sustainability professionals working in and around Hamilton helped students learn about the breadth of sustainability careers.

“For example, Ward 4 Hamilton City Councillor Tammy Hwang provided opening remarks speaking to her role in advancing U.N. sustainable development goals (SDGs) related to sustainable cities and communities, justice and strong institutions, decent jobs and innovation.”

Other sustainability professionals at the event included a sustainability director working in the auto industry, an urban farmer and entrepreneur, a manager of community development and partnerships, a plastic campaigner working at the national level, an engineer working in water resources and urban systems, as well as a director advancing municipal climate change initiatives.

Learn more about some of the sustainability professionals at the event on the Academic Sustainability Programs Office Instagram account, @macsustain

We met with some of the student attendees to learn why they attended the event and what they gained from it:

Rafiq Dhanji and Shania Ramharrack smiling and posing for a photo
Rafiq Dhanji, executive director at Sustainability Leadership, with Shania Ramharrack (Photo credit: Caroline Ryan)

“I wanted to network because I’ve never been to a networking event before. This is my first one.

I transferred into sustainability almost a year ago, so I don’t have that many connections in the field, and most of them are from McMaster.

This event really allowed me to connect with people in the industry, people in the municipal government, and I learned about so many cool events that are happening over the summer that I’m definitely going to attend! And I’m going to get basically all of their emails, so amazing connections!” 

Shania Ramharrack, integrated sciences student 

Edward Kang and Joana Fejzaj smiling and posing for a photo
Edward Kang with Joana Fejzaj, manager of community development and partnerships with Empowerment Squared. (Photo credit: Caroline Ryan)

“Why I came to this event was mainly to know exactly what sustainability meant in industry.

I learn about sustainability in school and learn about all its theory, but it’s hard for me to try to envision what it looks like in a job.

What does sustainability look like in a job, where do I find it, who’s involved in it, and how can I get involved?

So coming out to this event, basically I want to learn what it looks like in the world right now and just get a better understanding of what sustainability is and how I can get involved in it.” 

— Edward Kang, electrical engineering and society student, with an interdisciplinary minor in sustainability

Meghan Nemeth and Laura Buckley smiling and posing for a photo
Meghan Nemeth with Laura Buckley, homestead coach and owner of Wild Carrot Homesteading (Photo credit: Caroline Ryan)


“What I found really valuable was alot of insights about what people are passionate about, and how green jobs aren’t just one thing.

Because I feel like they’re usually seen as a type of job that’s involved with science or environmental science.

It doesn’t talk about policy, or maybe the applications of that, and maybe how you can make change on a local level or even a global level.”

— Meghan Nemeth, environmental sciences student 

DinhThach Dang and Brittany Killingbeck smiling at the camera
DinhThach Dang with Brittany Killingbeck, stewardship technician at the Hamilton Naturalists’ Club (Photo credit: Caroline Ryan)



“As an engineering student, it was really nice to come here and see all the different potential fields of sustainability and the environment, and I got to gain a bit more knowledge on how to integrate my background”

DinhThach Dang, iBioMed and engineering physics student. 

To stay informed and take part in sustainability initiatives at McMaster, follow the Academic Sustainability Programs Office on Instagram @MacSustain

Read here: 5 ways you can contribute to sustainability on campus

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