International Program Graduate Spotlights
As the 2017 summer semester came to an end, we have celebrated with our graduates at a great ceremony at the Tel Aviv University central auditorium. The International program graduates were all wearing the traditional academic graduation caps and gowns. This was a great opportunity to hear the graduates look in perspective back into the journey they have taken and successfully accomplished.
Here are the insights and experience of two of our graduates.
Naresh Bhansali, India
Having a business and industrial engineering background, Naresh joined the Porter School International M.A. Program with an interest to learn more about sustainable business strategies. He joined in from Thapar University in India, where he studied for M.A. degree, to complete his major following a student exchange program between the schools.
The special interest in sustainable business strategies arose because this is where business and profitability meet environment and sustainability. The effect they have in both directions is of major importance.
Naresh commented that his perspective of how did business develop in the past 200 years, how we messed up our planet and the serious sustainability concerns that emerged as a resut have changed considerably during his studies. Another major topic of interest that he learned and experienced at the Porter school was the trans-boundary water resources issues between Israel, Jordan, the Palestine authority and Gaza, that were covered in great detail.
Both these topics provided insights that would help in studying and providing solutions in his country which has also sustainability and water resources management challenges, driving initiatives that benefit society. It is both sustainable strategies that should be developed and employed and awareness and education of people that go hand in hand to meet sustainable development goals that are good for both business, society and the environment.
Completing his majors in the fields of energy and sustainability at the Porter school proved to be very beneficial. The studies were also a great opportunity to meet people from very different backgrounds and experiences. Meeting, mingling and studying together with students from many diverse nationalities was the highlight of the program.
He had a really nice opportunity to intern with Greeneye, an innovative business engaged in research, analysis and consulting in the intersection of finance and business with sustainability. Through that internship, he experienced the field of responsible investment strategies, This is a strategy where people can invest for their better future and still can earn returns on their investments.
Naresh commented that he is so intrigued by this field that he would want to focus his career in the field of responsible investment where there is much ground and opportunity in India and all over the world.
Francesca L. Falco, Italy
While working as an environmental lawyer, Francesca felt the need to complement her legal experience with an academic program that could provide her with a more multidisciplinary approach, and thus enrolled in the Master at Porter School of Environmental Studies.
During her Master, Francesca also completed an Internship at the Israel Nature and Parks Authority (NPA), working with Dr. Shkedy Yehoshua, the NPA's Chief Scientist. The Israel Nature and Parks Authority is the government organization that manages nature reserves and national parks in Israel. Francesca conducted research on the environmental policies for the prevention of invasive species' introduction, evaluating the cost-effectiveness and inter-institutional synergies of the policies that are currently employed in different countries around the world. The result of her research for the NPA will contribute to formulate a new national law to restrict the introduction of invasive species by either trade or personal import by travellers.
The internship at the NPA was both a pleasant experience and a very good occasion to look at policies from a broader point of view than what lawyers usually experience. It was also interesting to see how different characteristics of the countries affect their policies, which must thus be tailored to the specific context and environment in order to be effective. Comparative assessment is therefore an imperative first step for the development of any new policy and allows to identify the pros and cons of the various available options.
The whole experience was very interesting professionally. Because students at Porter were coming from very different backgrounds, the Master was also an enriching personal experience, as each student was contributing with his/her own knowledge and insights to class discussions and projects.
Following the Master, Francesca is now considering continuing research with a multidisciplinary PhD on environmental policies and biodiversity conservation.
It was very interesting to hear how they chose to become masters students at the Porter School of Environmental studies, why they chose to learn specifically here in Israel, to hear about their experience and insights and about their plans now that they have completed their studies and graduated.
Jincheng Luo received his M.A. degree (magna cum laude) from the International MA program in Environmental Studies at Tel Aviv University in 2016, with Dr. Alex Golberg as his thesis supervisor. His final project paper was "Biorefinery from seaweeds -- Protein Extraction from Ulva.rigida and its Optimization".
Jincheng said it was a very good experience to conduct his thesis research at the Environmental Bio-engineering Lab at the Porter school, being both a very lovely place to study and work at and an opportunity to work with excellent peers from all over the world.
He focused on studying algae protein extraction of Ulva rigida and doing pioneering process optimization works because following the growth in world population, the demand for protein is increasing world-widely and has generated a need to utilize additional protein resources to those currently available. Fortunately, Ulva is a great potential protein alternative resource for feed or food. The optimized algal protein extraction protocol could be applied to other sources of biomass and has potential to be used as a part of an integrated bio-refinery process.
After graduating from Tel Aviv University and returning to China, Jincheng is working in Beijing as an editor in an academic journal ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION, which is affiliated to the Ministry of Ecology and Environment in China.
Jincheng's research group at the Environmental Bio-engineering Lab, directed by Dr. Alex Golberg, continued the algal protein extraction research in a fruitful collaboration with the Laboratory of Biopolymers for Food and Health, Department of Biotechnology and Food Engineering, Technion and the National Institute of Oceanography, Haifa. The research paper, "Extraction of proteins from two marine macroalgae, Ulva sp. and Gracilaria sp., for food application, and evaluating digestibility, amino acid composition and antioxidant properties of the protein concentrates" was published in the academic journal Food Hydrocolloids.
The research team continues to develop a new protocol for the extraction of macroalgal proteins from Ulva sp. and Gracilaria sp. which is applicable for food production. This novel algal protein extraction technology may have a far-reaching influence on renewable source of proteins for human nutrition and industrial food processing.
Jincheng commented that his experience and knowledge gained in the International MA program in environmental studies was found to be most helpful in his current work as an editor, as he is presented with articles from diverse environment areas such as environmental ethics, environmental policy, environmental health, environmental economics and earth science and need to evaluate them with a deep understanding in a wide range of environmental topics and research methods.
Image: Jincheng Luo at the Environmental Bio-engineering Laboratory, the Porter building.
Image: Jincheng Luo during algae research, at Rosh Hanikra, Israel