2022 Grad Profile: Isadora Saslavsky Muszkat
Isadora Saslavsky Muszkat
Dual Degree Program with Tel Aviv University
Where are you from?
Philosophy and sustainable development
Tell us about your path to GS!
My first university experience started in 2015 in Brazil, studying architecture and urban studies. I decided to take a break from studying and go on a gap year in 2018. During that time, I worked for an architecture office in Tel Aviv for six months and then backpacked by myself around Europe for the other six. Working in architecture made me realize that maybe that wasn’t the right field for me—and the solo backpack trip only emphasized that. I met people from the most diverse backgrounds and learned that life had many more possibilities than I knew. I also fell in love with Tel Aviv and my life there, so I applied to transfer to Tel Aviv University (TAU). I made a 30-slide PowerPoint presentation to convince my parents that I wasn’t just trying to run away and get them on board with my idea!
A couple of months later, I began studying philosophy and Middle Eastern studies at TAU, which I absolutely adored. During my time in Tel Aviv, I worked in a coffee shop, which was vital to learning some Hebrew, getting more integrated into society, and making friends. One year later, TAU and Columbia launched their Dual Degree Program. Again, I saw the opportunity to experiment with something new and enhance my academic experience. I was especially attracted by the Columbia sustainable development major. I took my chances and applied to transfer again from the regular liberal arts program to the dual degree, and here I am now. Essentially, my curiosity and love for learning made me take all the opportunities life presented to me and brought me to GS.
What has been your proudest Columbia moment?
My proudest moment so far has been my experience writing and presenting my senior thesis on religious environmentalism in Muslim communities in the U.S. I am super passionate about the topic, love doing research, and got excellent feedback from my colleagues and my professors on this work. This thesis was one way I managed to unite my three areas of study into one project. It has been a lot of hard work, but a gratifying experience. However, I think my proudest moment of all will be when I finally graduate after such a long and challenging journey.
Who are some people who have contributed the most to your Columbia experience?
The professors and staff of the sustainable development major and my academic advisor definitely contributed to my experience at Columbia. I always felt they cared about students' well-being and wanted to see us do well. Also, every group I was a part of at Columbia had something really special to offer. I love the diversity you can find here. I was a part of Orchesis's dance group, the ESG Analysts from Columbia University’s Impact Investing Network, the Sustainable Development Student Network, and the Shotokan Karate Group. If I had more time on campus (which I didn't because of the pandemic), I would have done much more!
What are your plans for after graduation?
I am looking for a job in NYC after I graduate. I would like to work as an Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) Analyst. I want to help companies understand how well they are doing according to sustainability metrics and standards and how they can do better. Also, I would like to help inform and engage investors to invest in companies that positively impact society and the natural environment.
What advice would you give to a Columbia student starting their GS journey?
Talk to everyone. Ask what people are doing at Columbia, what kind of groups and clubs they are in, the initiatives they contribute to, what they work with, etc. One thing that I realized, unfortunately too late, is that Columbia offers endless things to engage with, and you will never find out about everything by yourself on the internet. You can find out about things that really interest you and make connections that can help you get involved with those things by talking to people. Also, do not forget to ask GS students about their life stories. You will be dazzled.