What is your previous work experience?
Prior to starting at the Nicholas School I worked as an Analyst at Enclude where I helped direct capital to businesses around the world that have social or environmental missions. This role included supporting transactions, investment fund design, and research related to financing for social entrepreneurs.
I also worked as an International Student Advisor for No rtheastern’s N.U.in Program in Greece, and worked with several NGOs in Port Elizabeth, South African including the South African Marine Rehabilitation and Education Center.
Previous internships include working with Catholic Charities as a Community Food Program Coordinator, and Booz Allen Hamilton as an Business Analytics Co-op.
Why did you choose the Nicholas School?
I chose the Nicholas School in Large part because the financial support provided by the school made attending graduate school affordable. I initially applied to the Nicholas School because of its excellent reputation, and the reputation of Duke University more broadly. I was stuck by the emphasis on interdisciplinary work, which I think will be very important in this field moving forward.
I thought the Nicholas School would be a place where I could both deepen my data analytics skills while also gaining a more technical understanding of the natural, economic, and anthropogenic forces shaping the environment today.
Do you have any areas of interest or special focus you will undertake during your time at the Nicholas School?
I am interested in sustainable industrial systems. The concept of the circular economy and finding ways to re-use waste from production processes is fascinating to me. I am interested in looking at the nexus of energy, water, and agriculture to find ways to use wastes from one sector for processes in other sectors (for example, using agricultural wastes to produce biogas).
As such, I am trying to get a flavor for all three subject areas (energy, water, and agriculture), in addition to deepening my data analytics skills and learning about life cycle assessment, supply chains, and finance.
What are you looking forward to as a new Nicholas School student?
I am looking forward to engaging with likeminded individuals who bring perspectives from both the business and natural sciences environments. I am excited for the opportunity to take classes and participate in research that will provide me with a better scientific and economic understanding of natural resources so that I can learn to balance environmental and societal demands. I also look forward to recreational activities (intramural soccer, Duke basketball, various social events) that help bring the Duke community closer together.
What future plans do you have for your career after the Nicholas School?
After the Nicholas School, I hope to pursue a career that will allow me to support the design, financing, and implementation of projects related to waste management and resource recycling in production processes. Ideally, I will find a way to incorporate waste management and a circular economy philosophy in to projects relate to energy and water infrastructure development.
While I’d like to do this work in both developed and emerging economies, initially I hope to develop projects that will allow more individuals and agricultural producers in emerging economies access to energy and water in an environmentally sustainable manner.
I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to more deeply engage with the topics of natural resource economics and sustainability through the Nicholas School. Leaving my job and taking the time to do this would not have been possible without the generous contributions of donors to the Nicholas Scholars program.
Thank you for your support. I hope to pay it forward both by giving back to future scholars and the environment!
Rebecca has over 4 years of analytical experience which included supporting transactions, investment fund design, event planning, and research related to financing for social entrepreneurs. She has supported and managed projects for a range of clients including corporations, financial institutions, foundations, and NGOs.