Sustainability Spotlight: Kelsey Bennett ’22

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Photo of Kelsey Bennett wearing a white shirt with a blue sky in the background.

In the short time since her graduation, Kelsey Bennett ’22 has achieved notable success in the field of sustainability.

During her time at Colgate, she pursued a double major in environmental economics and philosophy and engaged in various environmentally focused activities. Kelsey held the title of climbing specialist in Colgate Outdoor Education for two years and worked with nonprofits such as AdkAction and the Northern Forest Center through the Upstate Institute.

Following her commencement last year, she joined Environmental Design and Research (EDR) as an environmental analyst in their environmental division. In this role, Kelsey makes a positive and tangible impact on upstate New York by assisting in the permitting for renewable energy development and infrastructure improvements. Kelsey’s career path reflects her dedication to addressing modern environmental challenges through community revitalization, economic research, environmental policy analysis, and fieldwork. She aspires to further assist communities in reducing carbon emissions, investing in sustainable futures, protecting natural resources, and supporting local economies. 

When asked about how she decided to pursue environmental consulting, Kelsey said, “Environmental consulting happened to be a good fit for me, and the work I currently do matches well with the skills that I developed through my work experiences and my education. Since environmental consulting is such a broad field, I was unsure where to start when looking for jobs. Since starting at EDR, I have been able to see the wide variety of environmental jobs that exist, including working for state agencies, developers, nonprofits, permitting consultants, marketing consultants, specialized environmental consultants (geology, avian, socioeconomic, mitigation), and so on.”

Kelsey attributes three specific skills she gained at Colgate as particularly valuable to her career in environmental consulting: technical writing, asking questions, and clear communication. She encourages students interested in environmental consulting to leverage the numerous resources and opportunities available at Colgate, such as faculty advisers, summer programs, the writing center, technical classes (such as GIS and econometrics), and career counseling.

Kelsey said, “I knew very little about renewable energy until my senior year, when I wrote my senior seminar paper on the visual impacts of wind turbines. Now, I work in the renewable energy industry.”