The Wharton Initiative for Global Environmental Leadership (IGEL) creates opportunities for students to engage with Penn’s world-class research and alumni as well as with IGEL’s partnerships with academic, corporate, government and non-government organizations. Through these collaborations, Penn students are taking steps to become the business leaders of tomorrow and create more sustainable industries.
IGEL celebrates the work of its students who are studying to create positive change in business and the environment both now and in the future. To learn more about how these students are working towards their personal and professional goals in business and the environment, please see the profiles of IGEL’s Student Business and Environment All Stars below.
Bert Barnes is a graduate of Penn’s MES program and former Communications Manager for Wharton IGEL. As the Sustainability and Giving Manager at Beautycounter, Bert is advancing the company’s progress toward more socially and environmentally responsible production of safer personal care products. He develops solutions for responsible ingredient sourcing, sustainable packaging, corporate environmental impact mitigation, and charitable giving partnership strategy.
Before studying at Penn, Bert was an environmental consultant specializing in natural resources management, environmental permitting, and human health and ecological risk assessment. He earned his B.A. in Biology & Society from Cornell, with a concentration in Environmental Science and a minor in Entomology.
Austin Bream (C’17, W’17) is a senior in the Huntsman Program studying Business, International Studies, and German, with a concentration in Operations, Information, and Decisions. At Penn, he sits on the Advisory Board for the Penn Program in the Environmental Humanities and interns with Penn’s Green Campus Partnership, where he manages the Power Down Challenge and the Green Living Certification program. He is also a Resident Advisor in Kings Court English College House and a team member of Environ, a student sustainability consulting group. This past summer, Austin worked with CHEP, member of IGEL’s Corporate Advisory Board, as a Business Intelligence Intern, developing key reporting needs across the business. Austin hopes to use his education and his experience to transform global supply chains, using analytical data-driven approaches to promote sustainability.
“Penn, and IGEL more specifically, have taught me that sustainability and existing business goals are often much closer than most companies and individuals realize. Nowhere is that truer than in supply chains, where greener operations often mean reduced costs and more efficient production. Because of this symbiotic relationship, I want to work in transforming supply chains and hope one day to work on creating zero-waste production facilities.” –Austin Bream
Alice helped pioneer the global green sports movement as Resource Specialist for the Natural Resources Defense Council and then Director of Programs for the Green Sports Alliance. Between 2010 and 2015, Alice worked to incorporate profitable corporate sustainability strategy into core business pursuits across the entertainment industry. She advised MLB, the NBA, the NHL, the USTA, NASCAR, and the Broadway League. Alice authored the first industry-wide reports on sustainable food and efficient operations in sports, including “Game Changer,” “Collegiate Game Changers” and “Champions of Game Day Food,” which were profiled by The Wall Street Journal, New York Times, MSNBC, Bloomberg BusinessWeek, and Sports Business Journal, among others. In 2015, Alice received the U.S. EPA’s Environmental Champion Award for her work advancing sustainability across college sports. Alice has a B.A. from Yale University where she was a three-time NCAA Division I Rowing Champion, All-American First Team Awardee and CRCA National Scholar-Athlete. She is a LEED Accredited Professional and continues to consult for NRDC’s Food & Agriculture Program while pursuing an MBA at The Wharton School. At Wharton, Alice is a Leadership Fellow and a two-year recipient of the Moriarty Family Fellowship Award.
“As a business leader, I would like to tackle the urgent macro trends facing the agriculture industry as demand for food, energy and water rises ever faster. At Wharton, I am pairing my environmental expertise with management skills and financial aptitude to help me best contribute to the global movement towards more sustainable agriculture and resilient businesses. As a Wharton MBA student, I am privileged to build my dream career with advice from some of the nation’s top business leaders. I look forward to leveraging sustainability to help grow food and agriculture companies in a scarcer, hotter, more transparent, and more interconnected world.” – Alice Henly Mitchell, The Wharton School Class of 2017
Sirui Ma is an IGEL volunteer and a second-year graduate student in M.S. in Applied Geosciences program, concentrating in Environmental Geology. He is also in the International Environmental Management Program, which is based on a collaboration among University of Pennsylvania, Mines ParisTech in France, and Tsinghua University in China.
Sirui graduated from Penn State University in 2015, where he studied geosciences. During his stay in Penn State University, he was a research assistant in Appalachian Basin Group, Department of Geosciences. After he came to Penn, he continued his research career in Sediment’s Group with Professor Douglas Jerolmack, Department of Earth and Environmental Science.
On May 26th 2016, Sirui posted an article “Going local: Impact of Renewable Energy on Circular Economy” on IGEL’s blog. In the article, he discussed the potential pattern of renewable energy supply in the future and how the energy efficiency could be improved.
Emily Woodhull Newton is the IGEL Marketing & Communications Manager and a second-year graduate student in the University of Pennsylvania’s Master of Environmental Studies program, concentrating in Environmental Sustainability and Energy Management.
Emily graduated from Cornell University in 2010, where focused her studies in art history and business. After graduating from Cornell, Emily worked for four years in marketing and management for ASG, an energy technology start-up company. She also worked for the non-profit the Paleontological Research Institution (PRI), where she focused on marketing PRI’s research in paleontology, environmental science, energy, and climate change. Both of these experiences inspired her to continue her education and her career working at the intersection of the environment and business.
While studying at Penn, she is focusing on these interests by taking courses in corporate sustainability strategies, life-cycle assessment, the geography and geology of energy resources, and the fundamentals of air pollution. She is also working as a Sustainability Analyst Intern at FMC Corporation. As the IGEL Coordinator, she enjoys learning from leading sustainability professionals and researchers at IGEL events and conferences.
Elena Rohner is the Communications Coordinator for IGEL, as well as a 2nd year Graduate student in the Masters of Environmental Studies program. Her academic interests lie in studying how to improve human health and wellbeing in the built environment, specifically through indoor air quality and third party certifications such as LEED and WELL. She is also passionate about promoting sustainability within the business community – focusing on how sustainable business practices can create returns on capital, manage and mitigate risk, and realize value for a company’s clients and stakeholders.
As the IGEL Communications Coordinator, Elena is constantly learning from corporate and academic leaders in a host of different fields and she hopes to continue to be immersed in the world of corporate sustainability.
Outside of her academic and professional pursuits, Elena is an avid yogi, swimmer, cyclist, backpacker and diver.