When Sophie Janaskie entered Yale College she had it figured out: she would find work doing research in a biology lab; she would graduate and pursue her PhD; she would finish her PhD and find a job as a career scientist, continuing along the path she first started walking in high school.
But then she got a job at Yale’s Office of Sustainability. It was her sophomore year and she and a small team were working to get students involved with sustainability efforts around campus. “I found I really enjoyed that type of work,” Janaskie says—the fact that it was student-driven, that it focused on the environment, that it bore fruit on a relatively short timeline. She stayed at the Office through her junior year and eventually switched her major to environmental engineering. She had found a new path.
Upon graduation in 2015, Janaskie became a Venture for America fellow, and, through that program, she joined Luxtech, a small LED design and manufacturing company. She was the company’s sixth employee. “Going into the for-profit world involved a steep learning curve,” Janaskie, says, “but I do think that my work at the Office of Sustainability was a seminal experience in terms of working with small teams, with lot of white space, in a program that was still being molded and had the opportunity to go in a lot of different directions.”
Janaskie, who returned to Yale and graduated from the School of Forestry & Environmental studies in May 2018, now joins CBEY as the Environmental/Social Innovation Fellow. In this yearlong post she will oversee the continued operation and improvement of existing entrepreneurship programs while looking to revitalize and build new programs. She is particularly interested in using her experience with the Data-Driven Yale research group to think about how data analytics can support the hunt for solutions to environmental problems.
“I spent a lot of time at CBEY while I was a student at F&ES,” Janaskie said. “So when I saw the posting for the innovation fellow, it felt a little bit like a dream job, perfectly aligning all of the things I’m interested in.” We’re thrilled to have her on the team. You can find Sophie in the G-31 suite at Kroon Hall or drop her a note at firstname.lastname@example.org.