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Graduate Spotlight


Graduate Spotlight: Theo Rosenzweig Excellence with Pride

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Graduate Spotlight: Theo Rosenzweig Excellence with Pride

While working in environmental consulting in Salt Lake City following graduation from MIT’s CEE Department, Theo Rosenzweig witnessed the pollution of city air by corporations and how, despite already struggling with dangerous air quality, few policies were set in place to stop the pollution.

“I wanted to be a part of the solution, so I came back to MIT CEE in the MIT Leaders for Global Operations (LGO) program in hopes of learning more about renewable energies and pollution control techniques,” Theo says.

Originally from Anchorage, Alaska, Theo worked under faculty advisor and Associate Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering Desirée Plata and Associate Professor of Operations Management Yanchong Karen Zhang researching how to optimize supply chains to minimize greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs). “I believe this is a critical effort as we witness the growth of corporations and distribution of consumer-packaged goods around the world,” she says. “We need to integrate GHG minimization techniques into corporate supply chains to curb this major source of emissions on our planet.”

Her thesis, “Greenhouse Gas Optimization Across a Multi-Echelon Manufacturing and Distribution Network” earned the Best Thesis Award from MIT Leaders for Global Operations (LGO), a dual degree Engineering MBA program sponsored by the MIT Sloan School of Management and MIT School of Engineering.

“Theo’s off-the-charts intelligence mixes with a powerful understanding of corporate systems—and what matters to human decision points—to do something meaningful for the world,” says Plata. “We have always known Theo would do great things in life— and this impactful thesis is just one example of what’s to come.”

As a part of the LGBTQIA+ community at MIT, Theo recognizes the importance of celebrating diversity and inclusion across campus and beyond. Pride Month provides an opportunity for her to reflect on important historical figures who started the LGBTQ+ movement, as well as celebrate the members of the MIT community who are increasing representation and paving the way for a more inclusive future.

“Pride, to me, means celebrating the differences in our community members, regardless of if we can relate to those differences. It’s a chance for me to get to understand my neighbors and celebrate the diversity they bring to the table,” she says.

Theo’s most recent employer hosted internal drag shows during Pride Month for employees to participate and show their colorful side. “I finally felt at home with a company that fully supported its LGBTQIA+ community internally instead of just releasing branded Pride merchandise to the public. I enjoy seeing more of this kind of internal support in the corporate and academic environment as LGBTQIA+ acceptance grows.”

As an avid outdoors person, Theo was drawn to the field of sustainability from a young age. It wasn’t until she was hired as a research fellow at Nike that she decided to focus on supply chains. “They encouraged me to help optimize the greenhouse gas emissions of their supply chain, and I realized it was a major source of emissions for the company and our world in general.”

Now a graduate with a Master of Science in Civil and Environmental Engineering and MBA through MIT LGO, Theo plans to move to Beaverton, Oregon, where she will work within the supply chain and analytics teams at Nike. In this role, she will continue making an impact on the company’s expanding sustainability efforts.