O’Neill Alumni Spotlight: Jessica Huseman (Senior Sustainability Analyst at Southwest Airlines)

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Name: Jessica Huseman 

Organization: Southwest Airlines 

Position: Senior Sustainability Analyst 

Location: Remote but headquartered in Dallas, Texas 

Alma Mater: Bachelors of Science in Environmental Management ‘16, accelerated masters program, Masters of Public Affairs in Environmental Policy and Natural Resource Management ‘18 

Have you ever been passionate about something really niche but did not know if you could make a career out of it? Indiana University O’Neill Alumni Jessica Huseman is proof that you can make it happen. 

After completing her Masters of Public Affairs in Environmental Policy and Natural Resource Management, Jessica took a position at the Lake Michigan Coastal Program, where she administered grants for coastal restoration projects. Although she loved the initiative, she was looking for a faster-paced environment where she could be on the cutting edge of sustainable innovation and have a larger impact. This desire led her to take a job at United Airlines, as a part of their sustainability team, then to Southwest Airlines where she currently is a Senior Sustainability Analyst. 

In her role at Southwest Airlines, Jessica calculates the emissions airlines produce on an annual basis to include in the company’s Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) report, tracks progress on Southwest’s goals, and work with internal and external stakeholders to drive decarbonization. She works with stakeholders like airlines and policymakers to reach Southwest’s goal of net zero emissions by 2050. What drives her to be successful every day is her passion for sustainability and desire to protect the environment. Airlines allow people to go out and experience the world, and Southwest wants to protect that. 

There are a lot of exciting things on the horizon for the transportation and sustainability industry. In hard-to-abate sectors like the airline industry, driving meaningful progress on environmental sustainability requires every possible tool available. Southwest is taking action by forging partnerships and collaborating across the aviation value chain to proactively address the challenges that lie ahead along the path to net zero.  

She believes the O’Neill motto of “Lead for the Greater Good” was a guiding principle in shaping her career. Jessica realized she wanted to leave a legacy in her career for future generations, working on something bigger than herself, by combatting climate change. She recommends saying “yes” to every opportunity that comes your way, reading as much as possible on your dream company and industry, making connections on LinkedIn, and conducting informational interviews. Jessica believes everyone can be a small force in changing the climate crisis. 

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By Brianna Wright
Brianna Wright Peer Educator