Alumni Update: Alumni Talk About Careers in Sustainability



Casting Seeds Part 3

In these trying economic times, people want to know, “will investing in a sustainable design education make me more competitive in the job market?”

Despite the fact that “sustainability” is a buzzword, and although some may think it’s a fad, the impact of the graduates of the Minneapolis College of Art and Design’s Sustainable Design program will reach far into the future. Emerging market and trend-savvy companies want to build that future with talented, sustainable designers who have innovative ideas to “green” big and small businesses alike.

We caught up with a few recent graduates of MCAD’s fully online Sustainable Design program to see what they are up to and to learn how being in the program helped to boost their careers.

In Part 3 of the “Casting Seeds” series we’ll meet Susan Bast, an Environmental Scientist for the City of Burnsville, Minnesota, who graduated from the program with a Professional Certificate in Sustainable Design. You can also read about other alumni that we interviewed for our Casting Seeds series: Rita Penrod and Rudy Ruggles.


Meet Susan Bast

Sustainable Design (SD): Was learning about sustainable design something you wanted to do, or something your job asked of you?

Sue Bast (SB): It was something I wanted to do, but it pertained to my job. The program was authorized and paid for by my employer.

SD: Why did you join the program?

SB: I liked looking at sustainability from a design aspect and I appreciated the ability of taking the classes online.

SD: How has what you learned in the Sustainable Design program at MCAD helped you in your field?

SB: The information gained from MCAD sustainability courses helped me write a sustainability white paper, facilitate the development of a Sustainability Plan, and implement strategies in the Plan.

SD: All in all was the program practical for you?

SB: The program had the right mix of conceptual, big picture, and information and specific practical strategies.

SD: How are you making a difference?

SB: I am educating city employees, residents and businesses on sustainable activities, promoting and implementing energy efficiency programs and systems, and measuring and documenting the benefits of sustainability initiatives.

Seed image courtesy of Flickr CC @Neal.

Susan Bast

Susan Bast has been an environmental scientist for the City of Burnsville, Minnesota for over two decades. She develops, coordinates and implements environmental programs that promote sustainable practices with a goal to provide residents, businesses and employees with the information and the opportunity to make more environmentally preferable choices. She completed a Master’s in Landscape Architecture from the University of Minnesota and a Professional Certificate in Sustainable Design from MCAD in 2009. Susan is based in Minnesota.