Batch 10 (2014-16) graduate from U.S. living in Israel, Lindsey Zemler
Batch 10 (2014-16) graduate from U.S. and living in Israel, Lindsey Zemler, talks about how MESPOM led her to work on projects to implement environmental technology locally in communities in the Middle East and around the world.
What are you currently doing?
I am a project manager for HomeBiogas, a small Israeli company. We produce environmental technology that helps families and small businesses create their own energy using waste. It is a popular product for backyard use around the world, but is especially useful in areas where it helps people save money by getting free cooking gas by processing their kitchen and livestock waste. I work on assisting local projects with international distributors to implement the technology in their communities. The other main projects I manage are measuring our product impact, and on bringing the technology to schools and integrate it as a learning tool for students within their curriculum.
What were you doing before?
I entered MESPOM with a lot of interests and passion, and left with increased self-awareness and confidence in my role to become a global citizen who is part of a greater positive change.
I graduated from MESPOM 4 years ago, and moved to Israel immediately afterwards. I had the wonderful opportunity to work for MESPOM for 2 years, assisting in communications and recruitment. During the program, I had the opportunity to observe my peers (and myself) grow and learn over two years in such different settings – but learning and growth are not always easy to measure or explain. This led to my thesis project, which was to build a “skills assessment tool” for future environmental professionals. The aim was to provide a measurement tool to help students track their own capacity-building throughout their education.
Afterwards, I worked for a non-profit based in Israel focused on transboundary projects in small-scale water management and agriculture, connecting communities of Palestinians, Israelis and Jordanians. The main project was working with small-scale Palestinian farmers to use grey-water systems, because the current political climate denies them access to both the quality and quantity of water they need.
What role did MESPOM play in your journey?
First, the MESPOM experience of navigating multi-cultural teamwork was a huge advantage as I grow my career and work in international contexts. Second, the experience increased my analytical skills enormously, I learned to manage and analyze information in a way to make it as useful as possible. This helps me in so many ways, ranging from my own personal development to helping my team at work stay on track. Moreover, I am now comfortable working across sectors - before MESPOM I worked in the NGO world, and now I can work both in academia and the private sector.
Other impacts are the advancement of specific skills, such as visual presentation for an audience, using research skills to substantiate my work, managing a project from beginning to end, critically evaluating knowledge, and take responsibility of my own learning. Most of all, the MESPOM experience ensured that I think globally, approach problems with a solution-based approach, and see myself as part of the movement for positive impact in our modern world.
Any future plans?
No matter what comes from this new era of COVID-19, dealing with a virus that has no borders, I believe that my background on MESPOM will help me find ways to make a positive impact in both my local area and the global arena. This period has helped me adjust my priorities, and I hope to return to the NGO sector, to continue working with local communities with disadvantaged access to critical resources. Either way, I want to stay connect to MESPOM and to my cohort, who continue to stay connected especially during this period.