Tuesday, September 17, 2019

How Sophie Kennedy (CAS ’19), Co-Founder and Chief Sustainability Officer at SeaStraws, Uses her Passion for Oceans to Drive Environmental Change


Sophie Kennedy in an NYU dining hall
What did you study at NYU?

I transferred to NYU after my first year at the University of Miami where I studied Marine Biology. We are an NYU family - my mother (Daphne Kennedy, Wagner 1994) and aunt (Sarah Goldsmith Harrelson, CAS 2000) are alumni and my brother, Harrison, is currently studying filmmaking at Tisch (Class of ’22). I always wanted to attend NYU. After just minutes on my tour of campus, I knew I wanted to be a part of this passionate community and take advantage of all of the opportunities within the university and the city at large. It was such a gift to be at NYU, I loved every second of it.

I majored in Environmental Studies with minors in Anthropology and Business Studies. All of my classes were amazing. Professor Disotell’s Health & Disease in Human Evolution class made me fall in love with Anthropology and inspired my minor. I love that he allowed me to examine my passion for the environment through an anthropological lens, exploring topics like the impact of evolution on coral restoration or even the links between fisheries science and human health. 

Professor Schlottmann was my advisor in Environmental Studies and helped make everything possible for me, from my environmental internships and studying abroad to graduating a semester early. Even abroad in Florence, Professor Semeghini supported my passion for the environment as I created mood boards with sustainability as the “trend of the future” for Italian designers like Prada. My Environmental Studies Capstone project was one of my favorite to work on as we designed a funding plan using innovative finance mechanisms to support the Bahamas Protected Areas Fund (BPAF) with Professor Tolisano. This class along with Jeffrey Hollender’s Sustainable Business class helped me identify my passion for sustainable business.

Sophie Kennedy: her story continues