Meet Patrick Beckley From the Climate and Society Class of 2023
This fall, the Columbia Climate School welcomes a new class of students into the M.A. in Climate and Society program. The 12-month interdisciplinary program trains students to understand and address the impacts of climate change and climate variability on society and the environment.
The incoming Class of 2023 includes 80 students with diverse backgrounds and career paths, impressive skillsets, and big plans to help people and the environment.
State of the Planet will be featuring interviews with several of these extraordinary students over the coming weeks. In the Q&A below, you can meet Patrick Beckley, who currently works as an environmental engineer at the EPA, and who’s looking forward to learning about solutions that build community resilience and adaptation.
Can you tell us a little about your background and how you got interested in studying climate?
I was born in Sierra Leone and grew up in Kenya and the United States. Living in different environments gave me a global perspective and an understanding of shared environments. After studying environmental science in high school, I knew I wanted to solve environmental problems to make a global impact. Therefore, I chose chemical engineering with a focus on nanotechnology and sustainability at Howard University and found career paths that focused on making an environmental impact.
What drew you to the Climate and Society program specifically?
There is always something new to learn and I liked the interdisciplinary approach to learning diverse topics with an environmental lens. It is an opportunity to learn with bright minds from different fields on how to collaborate and apply climate solutions. Columbia has amazing faculty and I am excited about joining student and professional organizations. The opportunity to study climate in New York City is also very attractive because of the large challenges and opportunities the city presents.
What are you most excited to learn about while you’re here?
I am interested in environmental economics and how to successfully build solutions that will help community resilience and adaptation. Other topic areas I am looking forward to are related to design, policy, engineering, and communications.
How does the program align with your career goals?
This program gives me the opportunity to sharpen my knowledge in the environmental space and will help me effectively lead implementation of climate solutions locally and globally.