Elections 2017-2018 | Candidates

The candidates for the 2017-2018 SUMASA board are as follows:




Jiten Vyakarnam

I believe that Sustainability is the next big step in human evolution and that our generation will define the direction of our planet and will likely be the key to ensure its survival for the many generations to come. As such, it was only logical for me to apply to the SUMA program to stoke my passion and to build a career out of it. Like most of you, my passion for sustainability drives my professional and personal goals and therefore ensuring that our program provides us with the right set of skills to do so is of utmost importance to me. I’m running to be the President of the SUMASA Board in order to give us a voice to shape the direction of our program.

A few key issues that I would like to focus on would be to increase the information available on the possible list of courses in the program, to foster meaningful partnerships and promote professional development, to align the career goals of our students with the many great organizations that work in this sector and to increase our outreach and spread the SUMA brand to the Columbia community and the greater sustainability community in the New York area and throughout the country. The SUMA community has been incredibly kind and generous to me and my urge to give back to it is immense. If elected, I intend to continue the great work ethic and commitment put in by the current SUMASA board and to carry on their vision for all the people connected with this great program and this incredible school.



Mohammad Farooq

I’m pretty sure you all know who I am, but for the sake of formalities, my name is Mohammad Khalid Farooq, and I want to give my nomination for the position of President of the SUMASA Student Association.

For those of you know don’t know, I have come 7000 miles to New York City to study Sustainability Management from Pakistan. Having an educational background in Chemistry and Economics, work experience in Supply Chain, Human Resources, Marketing, Fashion and entrepreneurship, I would not like to brag about it, but I consider myself as the Jack of all trades (master of some).

However, coming back to the point, I was the president of the Sports Society back at my undergraduate university, and I believe this would be a fantastic opportunity to grow personally and help SUMASA grow.

In the past, I have been managing three business, all completely different simultaneously. This gives me the skill set to track and assist other SUMASA boards in achieving their targets. Being an entrepreneur, I believe that I can bring innovation and uniqueness to the SUMASA activities and help strengthen my fellow students at SUMA and SUMASA Board’s position at Columbia University.

I believe as an international student I bring a different aspect and experience into SUMASA, further diversifying the diverse program. I’ve already been involved in multiple SUMASA activities in the past and have a good idea of how things work. If elected, I plan to:

  1. More diverse socials including a special industry guest where people can interact on a more personal and casual level.
  2. Stronger representation of students towards the Columbia Board by launching a live portal where students can submit their comments whenever.
  3. More outdoor activities – Summer is coming!
  4. Help work with and expand SUMANI, SUMACon and especially Women & Sustainability.

I hope you will take a leap of faith and vote for me, and I promise if elected I will serve you and your interests to the very best of my ability, and I will always be at your beck and call!



Claire CostelloClaire Costello

Running for the Vice President of Administration and Finance would allow me the opportunity to combine my job with my educational interests! I joined the SUMA program in the spring of 2016 and would love the chance to be more involved. Currently, I work as a financial assistant for Columbia and have three years of experience overseeing my department’s budget as well as processing and submitting expense reports.  I am very familiar with Columbia procedures, guidelines, and deadlines.  I have experience coordinating events for over 300 people as well as keeping and maintaining all minutes from board meetings. I am a good fit for this position based on my history in the program and based on my knowledge of Columbia financial procedures. I am an organized person and successfully manage projects concurrently. I will only be taking one class next fall and spring semester, allowing me time to devote myself to the position’s responsibilities. I am looking forward to getting more involved in the SUMA program and believe running for a SUMASA board position is a good way to begin!



Amit PaulAmit Paul

My name is Amit Paul and I am a first semester
SUMA student interested in becoming your next Vice President of Academic Affairs. Entering the SUMA program with previous sustainability related work experience gives me a unique perspective on what skills are useful in today’s sustainability profession. As the VP of Academic Affairs, I hope to leverage this experience to connect everywhere with workshops, trainings, and seminars that will be extremely beneficial professionally and also provide practical context to the materials being covered in class. Additionally, my previous experience working at a large university will allow me to navigate relationships with faculty and staff to best represent SUMA and SUMASA at Columbia University. I hope you will give me the chance to serve you on the SUMASA board for the next year.



MarissaMarissa Fresquez

I want to run for the V.P. of Community Outreach because it combines my skills and experience in project management and event planning with my interest and tenacity for connecting like-minded people and innovative ideas through hands-on experiences in the field. From an early age I learned the value of informational interviews and have been actively networking toward my goal of becoming a leader in the environmental field ever since. My academic and professional background includes climate change and water policy advocacy, regulatory compliance in the telecommunications industry, and most recently, project management in the solar industry. These fields require adaptability and keen anticipation of client and market needs which I can readily apply as changes in demand for new jobs arise.

We are in a position to become frontrunners in an exciting industry with great opportunities for large-scale, global change, and learning from colleagues in the field is the primary driver for real-time problem solving. In order to understand the unmet needs of our industry, we need to understand the problems that our colleagues face, and collaborate and problem solve together. I plan to establish a mentorship program for alumni and incoming students so we can actively work toward the dream job we never knew existed. I want to serve for my colleagues in SUMA and look forward to meeting you all and hearing what you need from beyond the classroom to achieve your career goals and personal interests.



Sim KaurSimran Kaur

I am interested in serving as your editor-in-chief and believe I can fulfill the responsibilities of this role with competence and vigor beyond 140 character tweets. Writing isn’t something I regard as a laborious effort but instead as a form of expression that requires passion. You can find me at coffee shops jotting down daily ruminations, writing the plot twist to my latest dystopian novel or waxing poetic in lyrical prose. I regard writing as a hobby that positively influences many areas of my life, including my coursework and career.

My experience includes creating a department newsletter and leading compositions within the environmental compliance and sustainability department where I work full-time. I am also taking a journalism course this semester where I learned, and continue to learn, how to write science-based pieces that captures the essence of an audience and engages it.

Newsletters serve as the voice that delivers our most important messages into the spotlight. My goal as editor-in-chief is to aid in the facilitation and dissemination of this information. I appreciate your consideration and would be honored to serve as your editor-in-chief.



neumann-redlinadriana.jpgAdriana Neumann-Redlin
I am looking forward to the upcoming Sustainable Perspective Symposium. As a second semester student, this will be my first time at the event. However, I feel confident enough to run for Sustainable Perspective Symposium Chair
Working at YAI, a non-profit that provides services to thousands of New Yorkers with intellectual and developmental disabilities, one of my roles, for three consecutive years, was as Co-Chair of the “Latino Conference” Planning Committee. This event brought together families, professionals, legislators and academia; it was held entirely in Spanish and it drew in approximately 400 people. Right after the conference, knowing that some extra hours of work provided those families with life-altering tools was profoundly gratifying. I gained skills from
dealing with sponsors, speakers, the media, and volunteers to creating colorful raffle boxes.
In other instances, I have organized cultural events for the Goethe Institute, independent music and theater festivals and two UN models. Engaging others in valuable activities, motivating them to take action about causes they believe in, and working on expanding platforms for the exchange of ideas have always been some of my passions. I am a result-driven person, who believes that small details can really make the difference.
As much as I value our courses and the SUMA faculty, I realized that many of the key inputs and relationships we can benefit from as students lie in extra-curricular events. The SUMA program is giving me so much, I feel the need to give back.