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Northwestern University

Alumni Profile: Sarah Walwema ‘18

Alumni Spotlight Q&A: Meet Sarah Walwema ‘18, Urban Planner at GRAEF

Sarah Walwema graduated from Weinberg in 2018, majoring in environmental sciences.
Walwema is currently an urban planner at GRAEF, a private industry engineering and consulting firm. She also serves on Delta Institute’s Associate Board, who works with communities to solve environmental challenges throughout the Midwest.


Tell us about your career path. How did you get to where you are today?

After graduation, I was a fellow with the Northwestern University Public Interest Program at the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP). During undergrad, I mostly took biology classes, spent my summers conducting field work, and during the school year I worked at the Chicago Botanic Gardens. My work in plant biology gave me my initial exposure to data management in R and GIS and climate science. These hard skills were central in me securing my fellowship at CMAP. I loved the work I was doing in plant biology but felt like I found my place in urban planning. I got to stay in Chicago and do work at the intersection of climate change mitigation and equity. After my fellowship, I worked in environmental consulting for 2 years and worked for a month with Mayor Lightfoot’s transition team before starting my current position as an urban planner.

Read more about Sarah Walwema through her profile on the Weinberg News Center here.

Stay Connected

Whether you are a student or an alumnus, contact Cassie Petoskey, Director of the Waldron Student-Alumni Connections Program, at if you have any questions.
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