SUMASA Board Candidates 2019-2020


Alison Kelman – President


As president of SUMASA, my primary goal will be to grow our sense of community while elevating our accomplished student body both within and outside of Columbia. I come to this program with many years of experience managing committees and advisory boards for both large and small organizations, in both the private and non-profit sectors, all of which had to make tough financial decisions with long-standing impacts. I will work to make sure that all SUMA student organizations, including the board and clubs, feel supported and work together successfully.

Before starting the SUMA program I served as the Communications Director for Conservation Patagonica, a conservation non-profit that creates national parks in southern Chile. One of the most important parts of my job was managing relationships with major donors and organizing biannual meetings with our board and advisory committee. I understand the importance of utilizing and supporting the people on your team in order to further the efforts of the entire organization. During my time as a grants coordinator for Patagonia, and later at The North Face, I organized committees of staff members to guide them through the process of selecting grantees. These committees were formed to ensure decisions were made that aligned with company values and had the greatest impact on people and the environment.

I feel incredibly lucky to be surrounded by such a passionate and diverse student body. If elected, I will work hard to support a SUMASA board that serves all of you.

Mehul Dalal – VP of Academic Affairs

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Mehul joined the SUMA program in Spring 2018 with the interest of studying and exploring sustainability policymaking, tech solutions, and construction. His past experience includes 3+ years of being a Commercial Solar & Energy Storage Designer at Tesla and an Energy & Climate Change Intern at CEQ atop an education as a B.S. of Materials Science & Engineering concentrated in energy conversion & storage from Rutgers University. He has previously held student leadership roles as Treasurer & Marketing Team Lead during his time on the FSAE Rutgers Formula Racing Team. Mehul enjoys the outdoors, astrophysics & space talks, reading about current events, and exploring the hidden finds of NYC.

Bea Miñana – VP of Communications

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Before I started the SUMA program at Columbia, I was a Strategist at a brand consulting firm called the Additive Agency, where I developed communication strategies for socially responsible organizations. I gained experience creating strategic content that increased engagement and participation, while still conveying each organization’s social purpose. I worked with national nonprofits, NGOs, universities, and hospitals to revamp organization-wide communications, develop and implement messaging toolkits, and manage social media content across platforms. I also managed news content, to increase online presence and inform followers on industry updates. I enjoy communications work immensely, especially in the purpose-driven field we are in, and believe all these skills can be directly applied to this position at SUMASA.

I am interested in the position of VP of Communications because I want to help support the SUMA program in the best way I can – by applying the skills I’ve gained from past experience. I want to ensure that all SUMA students feel as engaged in the community as I did when I first started the program in January, and believe that I can do so through this position. Combining my love for sustainability and communications, I will make sure everyone is kept up-to-date on the latest news and events for our program, SUMA stays connected to sustainability networks around Columbia and NYC, and our community can continue to come together around a cause we all care about.

Cynthia Leung – VP of Community Outreach


“What is the biggest impact I can make in sustainability?” I ask myself this question every so often when it comes to reassessing how I, as an individual, can make a greater difference. It inspired me to pursue a career in solar project development. It drove me to mentor the next generation of green leaders. It brought me to Columbia to explore other sustainability careers. However, one person can only do so much, and the real question is “What is the biggest impact WE can make as a community?”

As Vice President of Community Outreach, my mission is to bring our community together by fostering a culture of connection and collaboration across our diverse skills and experiences. I might be one of the few people who says “I love networking!” but I really do. I love it because I believe that by sharing and connecting on things we truly care about, we can collaborate and create solutions that affect much greater change than any of us can do on our own.

Along with sustainability, I care deeply about diversity and inclusion, education, and professional development and will lead with a vision to build a network on this foundation. I want to hear about your career needs in this program so that SUMASA is shaped to be your pillar of support.  If elected, know that I will be a strong advocate for you and will work to empower you with the tools, contacts, and resources needed for success far beyond our time at Columbia.