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Life after Nature of Life

CBS alum Rob Kulhanek welcomed thousands of incoming CBS students to Itasca. Now he's helping science startups get off the ground.

Rob Kulhanek (B.S. Ecology, Evolution and Behavior, '14) at New York University.


Where do you work and what do you do?

I currently work at New York University for the Stern School of Business. I help run a program called the Creative Destruction Lab (CDL), which is an initiative focused on supporting and scaling science and deep technology startups. I help coordinate the logistical and events-related processes of the program and manage all the administrative aspects of the Lab. Similar to my previous role with Nature of Life, I wear a lot of different hats while working on a small team focused on collaborating with a myriad of organizations and individuals within the school. It's exciting and challenging work!

What appealed to you about the job?

The CDL is brand new at NYU, and joining a program so early with the opportunity to build from the ground up was really appealing to me. I'm also excited that I get to keep working with so different members of the community: students, faculty, staff, external professionals, scientists, and corporate sponsors. The overall goals and themes of the CDL are also relevant to my interests — we work to help those with deep science and technology understanding translate both their science and skills for more communication- and business-focused purposes. 

Where do you plan to go from here? 

This fall, I began earning my Masters in Environmental Conservation Education from NYU. This program dovetails flawlessly with my interests and experiences — balancing science, outreach, environmental advocacy and communication. I'm really excited to spend the next few years both building the CDL and studying in a hybrid field that feels custom fit to me. After graduation, I plan to continue working in science translation and outreach in all the ways I can, getting people excited and invested in science and the environment. In the long run, I hope to work building programs and experiences for people of all ages that challenge them to think critically and take action to save biodiversity. 

Favorite thing to do when not working or going to classes?

New York City is a place of endless diversion and entertainment. Since moving here last year, I really have spent most of my time exploring the city's countless restaurants, museums, and cultural sites. There are so many unique and delicious food opportunities here — trying new restaurants is definitely one of my favorite NY pastimes. I also love seeking out green spaces here. With all the concrete, metal and glass of the city, it's so refreshing to find even the tiniest bit of undeveloped or slightly wild land left. Next on the list is returning to my musical roots and joining an a cappella or similar vocal group. There's no shortage of those here either!

What's your advice for students and recent grads of CBS?

My advice to CBS students and young alums is: nourish and cherish the friendships you're making in CBS. It's surprisingly hard to make friends after college without the organic structure of school keeping you close to people. Some of my very best friends are fellow CBS alums both here in the city and across the country, and I would be completely lost without them! Maintaining those relationships can be difficult once time and distance separate you, but they are so worth it. 

Are you a CBS with an interesting career story to tell? Get in touch. Contact Stephanie Xenosat sxenos@umn.edu.

Posted 
September, 2018