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Meet LUMES Graduates

Our graduates go on to work in a range of fields and occupations after LUMES. Here you can read about some of the possible career paths you can take after graduating and what valuable skills they gained from the programme.

Sophia Speckhahn LUMES alumniSophia Speckhahn (Germany) 
Progect Manager at WWF 

Sophia Speckhahn work as a project manager at WWF Germany. Sophia develop and manage educational activities related to sustainable development and societal transformation processes. She's also involved in the international activities of WWF's education and youth work, where she plan and facilitate different events, such as a sustainability festival, trainings and workshops

Career path
When Sophia graduated in 2017, she found the transition to professional life quite lonely, and missed the community at LUMES. But in her new profession as a project manager at WWF– working with youth and education – she soon found a new community full of life and activities. 

What skills did you get from the LUMES programme?
LUMES provides you with an overview of a range of sustainability issues, you don’t become an expert in a certain issue, but you get a wide understanding of sustainability and are able to understand causal relationships, connect the dots and see the bigger picture. You also learn to be critical and reflect on different sustainability issues from different angles. The unique group spirit with wonderful individuals from diverse countries and backgrounds allow for a change in perspective and make you rethink priorities and challenge your perceptions of the world around you.

How are these skills important for your work today?
I’m working with young people who are often very critical and want answers to their questions and requests. I can help them develop this critical thinking and make them understand the complexity of things while giving them a broader understanding of sustainability issues in practice and empower them to take action. I also benefit from the experience with international and diverse working groups and got more sensitive to group dynamics which is valuable in working with students as well as other professionals. 

What career advice do you have for LUMES students?
Be open to different opportunities, career pathways and jobs, but be true to yourself and what matters to you. Stay connected to the LUMES network, other alumni can be very valuable, both personally and professionally, when finding a job and during your career. 

Annabel Schickner LUMES alumniAnnabel Schickner (Germany)
Sustainability consultancy at the consultancy company akzente, Germany

Annabel Schickner work as a sustainability consultant at the consultancy company akzente in Berlin. In her work she writes sustainability reports for companies and provide them with strategies on how to improve on sustainability issues and how to communicate on their work. 

Career path
After graduation Annabel secured an internship at GIZ, the German national development agency, where. During her internship she started to apply for jobs, and in autumn 2018, she started working at a sustainability consultancy, where she advises companies and organisations on how to be more sustainable. 

What were the most important skills you gained from the LUMES programme?
Besides the actual knowledge in sustainability and the systems thinking, the most valuable skill I got from the LUMES programme is the ability to work together with people from different disciplines, backgrounds and nationalities. 

How are these skills important for your work today?
For me as a consultant, it is important to have a broad knowledge of sustainability since I work with companies from many different sectors. Teamwork is also important in my job – which is something I really got to practice in the LUMES programme.

What advice do you have for current LUMES students?
What you learn at LUMES is about so much more than getting a job, you learn for life.  Don’t worry too much about what will happen after graduation.  Enjoy your studies while you are here. The two years at LUMES was the best years of my life. I never learned so much in such a short time. 


Gavin McCroryGavin McCrory (UK)
PhD Student, Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden
LUMES B18 (2014 - 2016)

Gavin McCrory is currently a PhD candidate at Chalmers University of Technology. His research is focused on urban living labs and sustainability transitions and he seeks to generate impactful, reflexive, and change driven research.

His research interest was developed during his time at LUMES and explored in depth in his master’s thesis.

Career path
After graduation, Gavin worked as a junior researcher on a smart cities project at Vrije Universiteit Brussel in Belgium. This experience, combined with his master thesis, enabled him to go on to secure his PhD position.

What I gained from LUMES
“LUMES provided me with a set of skills and experiences that are relevant, useful and desirable for my current work. The open and encouraging environment that is conducive to developing group competencies, and abilities in critical, reflexive and holistic thinking are some of the competences I values the most."


Jorge CastroJorge Castro (Guatemala)
Sustainability Developer, IKEA, Sweden
LUMES B14 (2010 - 2012) 

At IKEA, Jorge Castro works as a sustainability developer to improve the social, economic and environmental performance of the company. He is also responsible for overviewing and assessing that changes in performance is implemented and realised through various initiatives and programmes. 

Career path
Jorge Castro started his first employment in Sweden with Boozt Fashion where he did product and logistical work building on his previous knowledge as a mechanical engineer. After gaining experience with Swedish language and getting comfortable with the company, he moved to the UK where he worked at the Melton Borough Council, a government administration agency. There, he supported the sustainable development of rural local businesses of the food and drink industry. These working experiences, in addition to the theoretical knowledge he gained through LUMES, equipped him with the necessary skillset to start working in his current role at IKEA.

What I gained from LUMES
“LUMES was unique because as an individual, it encouraged critical thinking, and as a team member, it allowed for the ability to harvest and foster best skills of people from different cultures and different backgrounds and for us to develop."

"If you can link the relevance of LUMES skills to specific achievements that you gained and show how it translates to the job you’re applying to – then you will shine.”


Emily NorfordEmily Norford (USA)
Policy Officer at EAT Foundation, Norway 
LUMES B17 (2013 - 2015) 

Emily Norford works as a policy officer at an international  policy advocacy and network organisation, called EAT Foundation, where she supports the foundation’s goal in transforming the global food system to become more healthy and sustainable. Her work ranges from drafting policy related materials to setting up or supporting initiatives. 

Career path
Emily's background is in environmental studies. She also worked for three and a half years before doing her master at LUMES.

What I gained from LUMES
"In my work, I take part in organsing events such as different conferences. For example, I help in the planning of organising break-out sessions at a conference that involve everything from curating topics to setting up partnerships with a variety of organisations. In this process, it is often difficult to reach an agreement on a specific issue, especially when team members disagree due to their own disciplinary assumptions. In those situations, it is beneficial to have experience from LUMES, such as being able to engage in discussions, question assumptions and, eventually, arrive at solutions.” 


Javier M BlancoJavier M Blanco (Spain)
Policy Officer, United Nations Development Programme, UNDP, Panama
LUMES B17 (2013 - 2015) 

Javier Blanco works with various tasks relating to national policy development and SDGs with focus on poverty reduction and human development. 

Career path
Javier Blanco started his policy career with internships at the Earth System Governance Project and the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations, FAO, during and after LUMES.

What I gained from LUMES
“Both at FAO and UNDP, we work in the field with people from governments, NGO:s and other places. They come from different backgrounds and cultures, usually with a lot of expertise. Here, the general ability to understand, communicate and manage knowledge from different disciplines is something that is useful and a skill that I developed in LUMES.” 

Page Manager:

Voices from the LUMES Graduates 2013

Interview with LUMES alumni Josephine Ylipää and Henner Bush

Hennes Busch and Josephine Ylipää
LUMES alumni Hennes Busch and Josephine Ylipää

Josephine Ylipää is the environmentalist who has chosen to devote her life to working with climate and environmental issues. For the past two years she has worked with sustainability research in Vietnam but has now returned to Sweden. With her to the studio she has her university teacher (and LUMES alumni) Henner Busch, a researcher in climate and energy policy.

See the interview on SVTPlay here

* The interview is in Meänkieli and English (second part), with swedish subtitles. Meänkieli is a Finnic language spoken in the northernmost part of Sweden. It is recognized as one of the country's five minority languages.

More alumni stories

Read more student and alumni stories on the LUMES programme page at


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