Alumni Focus: Ayana Bodi, Communication Environmentalist and Creative Thinking

Alumni Focus: Ayana Bodi, Communication Environmentalist and Creative Thinking

By Michael Banon
|August 11, 2021

Ayana Bodi graduated with an MPA in Environmental Science and Policy Program in 2019.

Ayana Body recently joined Project Drawdown as a senior partner with Drawdown Labs. A.D. After graduating from Columbia University with a master’s degree in public science and policy program (MPA-ESP) in 2019, she began working as a summer research partner for an international advocacy organization that focuses on reducing deforestation through international supply chains. During her time in the union, her research focused on rubber farming in a campaign to create sustainable natural rubber alliances.

Post-Union, Iyana began working as a policy partner for Pacific Forest Trust, an American forest conservation organization. While there, she was able to work on climate and land conservation policy. She used her writing skills from the MPA-ESP program to work on specific state and federal policies in California and Oregon, as well as assisting in building a coalition in Oregon. In her free time, Ayana loves walking and backpacking on the beach, and new hobbies include screen printing and learning Korean.

Prior to joining the MPA-ESP program, Ayana met with William and Mariam in 2016 at BS. She had a very scientific background but wanted to find a place where science and policy could meet. The Alaska Desert League is working on a policy and communication project to create community support for the organization. At the same time, Ayana trained Congressman Gary Connolly in the 11th District of Virginia and learned the ins and outs of Capitol Hill. She then went on to acquire the technical skills needed for supervisors and, as a program coordinator with the local council, to understand how to communicate environmental sciences to scientists.

Ayana has had some policy experience in the past, but her full-time job is not limited to policy work. She wanted to earn a postgraduate degree in public administration and gain knowledge and understanding of the practical aspects of environmental policy. The accelerated aspect of the program attracted her interest because she wanted to return to the workforce and her location in New York City was a great addition to the network and to new experiences. During the summer, the curriculum structure with the science department enabled her to acquire technical skills and knowledge that could be applied in the fall and spring policy-oriented seminars. These were useful for learning how to translate science into policy.

During her summer science semester, her favorite subject was Climatology. He said he knew the basics of what climate change was, but he said he had learned many details to understand how the climate works and why it changes. The in-depth nature of the course allowed the students to examine their specific needs in relation to their environment.

Another course she considered to be popular was financial management in the spring semester. Not only is this course useful for the real world, but it also provides a participatory and rich perspective on how organizations manage their finances, including non-governmental organizations, for-profit and government agencies.

Ayana was the workshop manager for her spring semester at the Practical Land Systems and Policy Analysis Workshop. Although the spring semester was busy with graduation, job search, and graduate school, it was a valuable experience and she was able to learn valuable skills about managing her peers and gaining the right knowledge for leading individuals in the real world. Setting.

For one of her choices, Ayana took up climate change policy with Scott Barrett. She likens this course to a Summer MPA-ESP Climatology course but gives a new level of understanding of what global climate policy looks like and why some policies are successful and why others are not. She considers this course a favorite because it emphasizes the complexity of climate policy globally.

While in Colombia, she conducted research for Benjamin Orlov, and in an independent study during the spring semester, she was able to examine how climate change was transmitted in Congress. She focused on three different bills in Congress and how they handled climate change differently. The accounts relate to economic policy, energy security, and military defense. Looking at congressional witnesses and hearings, he explored the latest project to see how climate change can be addressed and how climate law and communication can succeed in the lens of Congress.

Some of Ayana’s interests have changed since she was in the field. The MPA-ESP program focused on legislative issues, enabling it to develop a climate policy on how to protect and restore ground and natural systems to adapt to climate change. In recent years, her interest in the environment has shifted to private sector participation and climate change.

Ayana began her job search in January, saying, “I knew it might be a little early, but at the same time it allowed me to gain some experience and practice when it came time to apply for more jobs.” This allowed her to get used to applying for a job and to create good templates for her resume and cover letter. Her advice to current students includes keeping a spreadsheet for the job search. This allowed her to keep track of what jobs she was looking for, details of the organization and deadlines, and timelines for applications, responses and interviews. She suggests that current students take the job search as a choice room and limit the amount of time they spend looking for and applying for work each week. One piece of advice is to have a job search partner in the group to be accountable to each other.

Aina has a non-profit focus and experience in that field, but advises students to think a little about the content of science courses and focus on what the content can teach you or more on specific topics. . She said, “The ESP program discusses how to transfer technical information to the general public,” and said that these skills will enable students to influence the environment and use the content of the extensive summer science classes to communicate with others. the world.

Her advice to current students is not to focus on getting the right job after graduation. She suggests trying to apply for jobs you can enjoy, but don’t wait for the perfect job to come – “Spread the net, but don’t focus on finding the perfect job. ”

Finally, Ayana meditates on three of her most memorable experiences in the ESP program:

  • The people you meet in the MPA-ESP program will be some of your closest friends. They are like-minded individuals who, like you, love the environment.
  • Summer field trips are not only educational but also fun and allow you to connect with your team as you learn about real environmental issues in New York.
  • “Spring Stone Course, though powerful, is very rewarding and allows you to gain real-world skills while developing professional and personal relationships with your peers.

Michael Banon is a Member of Parliament for the 2021 Environmental Science and Policy Program.

If you are interested in learning more about the MPA-ESP program, please contact Stephanie Oath (

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