Student Research

Undergraduate Sustainability Research Fellows Program

The Undergraduate Sustainability Fellows are a cohort of undergraduate students from diverse academic disciplines who will engage in a year-long learning, research, and action program that addresses a sustainability issue on campus by focusing on campus life and the student experience. The team of instructors for the program will work with the Office of Sustainability to identify relevant campus sustainability issues from which the Fellows will select topics to work on for the year. The Fellows will work in teams and will have the support of faculty and staff to design and implement solutions. The GW Sustainability Institute will provide financing to support student research efforts and carry out the solutions as needed.

Sustainable GW Award for Student Research

Each year, student researchers are selected by a diverse panel of faculty reviewers for this award that recognizes the advancement of sustainability awareness related to priority areas including energy, innovation, urban futures, circularity, and resilience.

2021 Winners

Prize for Sustainability Awareness Areas

Awarded to Naa Adoley Parker-Allotey for her work, "Association between Occupational Exposures to Informal Sector E-Waste and DNA Damage - A
Systematic Review"


Prize for Sustainability

Awarded to Camille Leoni for her work, "Effect of Sublethal Doses of Dicamba on Honeybee Cognition"

2020 Winners

Two students were selected for GW's second cohort of Sustainability Scholars.  The students, faculty mentors, and their projects are:

Margaret Nelson, Majors: Economics and Public Health

Faculty Mentor: Susan Anenberg, Environmental and Occupational Health Project: "Estimating effects of sustainability actions on disparities in air pollution exposure, physical fitness, and nutrition across Washington, DC"


Siberia has experienced unprecedented climate-induced environmental change, and  sustainability issues are especially acute in fragile boreal, subartic regions where resource extraction industries dominate.  This project seeks to understand the impacts of land-use upon the sustainability of vegetation and permafrost conditions of north of Lake Baikal in Siberia.

  • Project: "The Road to Sustainability: Environmental and Social Impacts of Informal Road Networks and Resources Extraction North of Lake Baikal, Russia"

While there is some evidence that reducing greenhouse gas emissions also brings public health benefits, there is limited quantitative data on the health benefits of climate-change-mitigating actions.  This project seeks to measure some of the public health benefits of initiatives undertaken through Washington, DC's Sustainable DC 2.0 Plan.

Zachary Posnik, Majors: International Affairs and Geography

Faculty Mentor: Nikolay Shiklomanov, Geography
2019 Winners

Five students were selected for GW's first cohort of Sustainability Scholars.  The students, faculty mentors, and their projects are:


Yoon Sil Choi, Major: Civil Engineering

Faculty Mentor: Danmeng Shuai, Civil and Environmental Engineering Project: "Development of a Solar Photocatalytic Reactor for Sustainable Water Purification"


This project asks how employees are electronically monitored to encourage green behaviors and how such monitoring affects performance and workplace cultures.


Sarah Zarsky, Major: Psychology, Minor: Organizational Sciences

Faculty Mentor: Tara Behrend, Organizational Sciences Project: Workplace Tracking's Role in Sustainability

This proposed study seeks to characterize the diversity of pollinator populations of specific plant communities around the campus of George Washington University, as the university plants to re-landscape its green spaces, specifically G Street Park, and re-plant native plant species.

As Chile strives to meet its obligations under the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement, this project seeks to investigate how Chile can achieve its intended national determined contribution by reducing its carbon emissions while still maintaining its energy security.


Adele Queener,  Major: Anthropology, Minor: Sustainability

Faculty Mentor: Hartmut Doebel, Biological Sciences Project: "Biodiversity Survey of George Washington's Native Pollinators"

Given that Arctic cities typically rely on long supply chains for their food consumption, this project inquires into how best can these communities marshal their resources to ensure that their citizens have access to sufficient food supplies.


Kethelyn Papp, Major: International Affairs

Faculty Mentor: Maria de la Fuente, Romance, German, Slavic Languages and Literatures Project: "Decarbonization of Chile"

Recognizing that solar-energy-enabled photocatalysis is an advanced, yet sustainable oxidation process for water treatment, this project seeks to find an optimal design using graphitic carbon nitride as a photocatalyst for contaminant removal and disinfection.


Claire Franco, Majors: International Affairs and Geography

Faculty Mentor: Robert Orttung, Elliott School of International Affairs Project: "Approaches to Addressing Food Insecurity Across Arctic Cities"