Alumni Career Spotlight: Cassidy Jenney

Cassidy Jenney
Environment, Economy, Development and Sustainability ‘17

Sustainability Associate, Ohio State Department of Athletics and Business Advancement

Cassidy graduated in 2017 after majoring in Environment, Economy, Development, and Sustainability with a specialization in Sustainability and Business. She kept busy during her undergraduate career as a student athlete on the varsity women’s rowing team and spent summers in Ghana as an International Sustainable Projects Intern. After working with Smart Columbus for a year and a half, Cassidy has returned to Ohio State Athletics, now as a Sustainability Associate for the Department of Athletics and Business Advancement. She helps oversee the Zero Waste program at Ohio Stadium, which diverts waste from landfills and significantly reduces Ohio State’s environmental impact. 

Cassidy Jenney
Read the interview with Cassidy: 

A Glance at Cassidy’s Current Work

Every day on the job can look completely different from the next. One day, we can hold a tour at Ohio Stadium or the Schottenstein Center while the next day we can have meetings with Gene Smith, Ohio State’s Athletic Director talking about sustainability. You have to go through work being open-minded and confident in pressured situations.

The most rewarding part about my job is knowing the impact I’m making on Athletics and Business Advancement, a department that helped shaped who I am. Our Zero Waste program at Ohio Stadium that I help oversee diverted over 15 tons of waste away from the landfill last year. To have this kind of positive impact for the environment is a great feeling. I will always be working to expand on our efforts to make as much positive change as possible.

What were you involved in during college?

During my time at Ohio State I was a student-athlete for the varsity women’s rowing team. Although being a student-athlete did not focus around sustainability, it showed dedication and discipline to potential employers. It provided me with the capability to be a fearless leader in high pressure situations and the ability to work with a team towards one common goal. I was also an executive member of a student organization and held the title of Global Sustainable Projects Coordinator. In our student organization, we focused on fundraising efforts to provide resources for building a higher education school system over in Ghana, Africa.

As an athlete, we had little time to devote towards internships or seasonal positions while in school. I was fortunate enough to secure an internship with a nonprofit over the summer as an International Sustainable Projects Intern. We worked in Ghana, Africa in the summer of 2015 and 2016 where we implemented a higher education building, as well as a 3 year seamstress program to provide life-long skills for 36 young women. The seamstress program provided economic stability for years to come after the program ended.

"Networking with sustainability professionals and making changes in your current role are your two most valuable assets in finding and securing a sustainability position." 

Career Development & Job Searching

What was most important to you in your job search?

The most important thing during my job search was to be in a role that had a job scope that encompassed all forms of sustainability, not just sustainable transportation. I also wanted to focus on building up sustainability in businesses. Being in dual departments of Athletics and Business Advancement helps me work on large impactful projects and interact with employees in many different settings ranging from athletic venues to concerts.

What did you do immediately after graduation?

After graduation, I started working at Smart Columbus. Smart Columbus is an organization funded by $40 million from the U.S. Department of Transportation and $10 million from Paul G. Allen Family Philanthropies. I served as an Ambassador Manager with a team of five Ohio State Students. We educated the community on sustainable modes of transportation in the Smart Columbus Experience Center and how they can lower their carbon footprint through travel. I worked there for one and a half years before I started working at Ohio State.

What is your advice for someone still in college who wants to do what you do? 

If you are still in college and are seeking sustainability opportunities, become a part of an organization or company who values sustainability, and go above and beyond to create change where you are. Seek out individuals who are in your preferred profession and set up coffee meet-ups where you can build your network in the environmental industry. These individuals can serve as mentors and may be able to help you prepare for opportunities with an organization or company. Networking with sustainability professionals and making changes in your current role are your two most valuable assets in finding and securing a sustainability position.

Do you plan to pursue an advanced degree?

Although I eventually want to go back and earn a master’s degree, the job I am currently in has been great. After undergraduate school, I wanted to take a few years to work and get experience in my field. It may end up being that I don’t feel the need to go back to school if I can keep growing in my job field. I also feel that in years to come, master’s programs with a focus in sustainability will be more prevalent.

How to connect with Cassidy: 

Post created March 2020