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Rising Leaders: Sumita Gangwani

By Kylie Gray

Sumita Gangwani, Environmental Studies, Drexel University
Photo by Poon Watchara-Amphaiwan


January 25, 2019

BA Environmental Studies & Sustainability ’20
MS Science, Technology & Society ’20
Minor in Economics

Sumita Gangwani has taken her passion for sustainability into diverse roles — studying green energy in Iceland, researching the politics of energy development in Philadelphia, and influencing sustainable retail policies on co-op in Washington, D.C. As an on-campus leader, she has advocated for Drexel to remain committed to its environmental initiatives and has helped empower new Dragons as a student ambassador and mentor.

Leadership Highlights

  • President, Science, Technology and Society Graduate Student Association (STS Collective)
  • Co-founded Drexel’s Climate Reality Project chapter
  • Oversaw implementation of IKEA’s Sustainable Living app while on co-op

On Why She Took a Communications Co-op at IKEA:

“With sustainability, helping people understand the problem is the first step. If you can’t communicate the science, you’re never going to be able to make a difference. I wanted to understand the consumer mindset — what consumers do and do not value in regards to sustainability.”

On the Role of Mentors:

“Many of the opportunities I have had were the direct result of people I have met and been shaped by. Dr. Kelly Joyce of Drexel’s STS Center, for example, has been a mentor to me since week one, and invited me to conduct research as her STAR scholar. She has pushed me on an intellectual level and taught me that there is always another perspective to consider. The benefits of people who will advocate for you are immeasurable.”

On Her Motivation:

“People are the driving force of change. If I am able to inspire someone to take a small step toward environmental stewardship and sustainability, I’m happy knowing I made a difference.”

How She Plans to Change the World:

Promoting sustainability and environmentally friendly retail practices through innovation and policy-related change

* This article originally appeared in the College of Arts and Sciences' Ask magazine feature story, “Rising Leaders.” For more Ask stories, visit askmagazine.org.