By Talia Bank ’23

Landed is an ongoing series where we ask recent graduates how things are going post-graduation. Here, we talk with Elizabeth Abramson ’19 about her path, and her current work’s focus on industrial carbonization.

Elizabeth Abramson ’19 came to Macalester unsure of what her future would hold. She knew she was interested in problems related to space, place, and the way humans interact with their environment. Abramson ended up graduating with a major in geography and specializing in urban studies. Now, she’s applying her skills in mapmaking, design, and geographic information systems (GIS) toward industrial decarbonization with Carbon Solutions LLC. We talked to Abramson about her formative experiences at Macalester, her current projects, and the values that inform her work. 

Community Engagement 

During my senior year at Mac I participated in the Community Engagement Center’s Off-Campus Student Employment program, which allowed me to earn my work study award at the Great Plains Institute, a local nonprofit, instead of through an on-campus job. That role ended up turning into a post-grad internship and then into a full-time job. I’d encourage students to seek out programs and classes at Macalester that facilitate engagement with local community organizations, using Macalester’s existing connections to gain hands-on experience and explore things that spark your interest.

Equity and Environmental Justice Focus 

As a geography major, I learned to view the layout of our streets, cities, and landscapes as contested spaces, shaped by intersecting power dynamics that can create benefits for some people and burdens for others. Understanding that our surroundings are the result of a series of choices also means that we have the power to choose differently, and prioritize equity and sustainability in our planning decisions. 

As I’ve transitioned to the workforce, I’ve found that organizations in my field are increasingly seeking people with a foundation in examining the equity and environmental justice implications of the landscape and built environment. Studying how geography both reflects and compounds so many other social issues has sparked a commitment to change-making that informs both my career goals and my personal values.

Day in the Life 

A lot of my day-to-day work revolves around making maps and graphics that help people understand complex environmental issues and climate solutions. I’ve gotten to apply geospatial analysis and design to projects across a range of geographic scales, from local electric vehicle planning studies to national assessments of carbon removal opportunities. At a critical time for climate action, I appreciate the chance to use my foundation in geography to advocate for solutions that maximize benefits for the climate and for people.

March 23 2023

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