Carleton Alumnus John McNally was recently named one of the Corporate Knights Under 30 Sustainability Leaders.

“I won’t lie, it felt pretty cool,” said McNally. “It’s an honour to be recognized amongst any cohort with that much talent and recognized for the work my team and I have put in over the last year. Our work on a green recovery from COVID-19 has received lots of attention, and I’m hoping recognition like this can further prove the value of the ideas we have been advancing.”

McNally graduated in the spring of 2019 with his master’s degree in Sustainable Energy. The Sustainable Energy Program launched in 2010 and provides students with the option to obtain an engineering degree or a policy degree. In this program, students develop skills in energy knowledge, policies, and technology.

“Grad school helped me learn how to communicate my ideas in a way that was credible and relevant to decision-makers,” shared McNally. “I’d tell anyone wanting to apply to the master’s program I took that the overview it offers on engineering, economics and policy gives you a vocabulary and knowledge base that would take 5+ years working an energy policy job to develop. It offers a massive advantage to future job hunters or advocates of clean energy solutions. I’d also tell them that the sense of community this degree offers is long-lasting, and it will create a network of folks you will spend the rest of your life bumping into in every office, conference and workshop you are in. The applied knowledge, and that shared experience, is a rare and valuable thing that makes the experience a smart investment.”

This program allows students to work in interdisciplinary teams on various sustainable energy topics in their capstone course called Applied Interdisciplinary Project.  Last year, topics included a climate analysis of the Phase 2 LRT for the City of Ottawa and the potential and challenges of renewables integration for northern communities for the Pembina Institute, amongst others. Students also have other opportunities to pursue research such as through a thesis, major research paper and/or working as a research assistant alongside a faculty member.

The Sustainable Energy program has a strong alumni group called SIGNALS that go on to work at various places including the federal government, non-profit organizations and academic institutions. McNally has been working as a Senior Research Associate and the head of the Clean Growth team at the Smart Prosperity Institute.

“I manage a team of Associates who design policies to ensure clean growth policies focus on what matters: people and results,” explained McNally. “My degree definitely helped me get my current job, since it offered me the knowledge base and professional network needed to get my foot in the door at my last couple jobs. I also still work with some brilliant folks based out of Carleton in Energy Efficiency Canada, the Carleton Centre for Social Innovation, and the Transition Accelerator, so my experiences with Carleton continue to pay dividends!”

To learn more about the Master’s in Sustainable Energy click here.

–The above story was written by Taia Goguen-Garner.