Sustainability Snapshot: Sustainability Minors Reflect On Their Culminating Experiences

July 01, 2019

Top row: Dylan Patel, Isabel Meskers, Tara O'Donnell, Lydia Igna. Bottom row: Emily Robinson, Jonathan Kvilhaug, Lauren Lamar, Francesca Ribaudo.

Top row: Dylan Patel, Isabel Meskers, Tara O'Donnell, Lydia Igna. Bottom row: Emily Robinson, Jonathan Kvilhaug, Lauren Lamar, Francesca Ribaudo.

Dylan Patel

“I worked at Food Rescue US where I assisted in a research project to identify and compile a list of potential partners across the 50 states to aid in the fight against food insecurity and food waste. Food Rescue US provides a service where we essentially connect food providers that usually have the high potential to produce excess food (restaurants, grocery stores, hotels, etc.) with good distributors (food banks, soup kitchens, food pantries). Therefore, it was my job to help identify more institutions Food Rescue can input in its database in order to expand its network. I enjoyed simply talking to the various individuals who work at these places and hear their commitment to food insecurity. With an issue that seems as if there is no end in sight, it is not only critical, but necessary to be surrounded with optimistic and passionate individuals or else there is no hope within the cause and if there is no hope, well then you have already lost the battle before you’ve even begun.”

- Dylan Patel, Public Health, MSPH ‘19

Isabel Meskers

“I interned at the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation this past spring. I primarily worked with their high volume donation tracking and entry, preparation of donation reports, and other supporting materials. Through my work with the foundation I was able to collaborate with team members and give recommendations to improve existing revenue report templates and assisted in their development as a whole. I was also exposed to the research into foundation grant searching, and preliminary research to help generate cost projections for MARF's Travel Grant program. 

My work began prior to the three day 2019 International Symposium on Malignant Mesothelioma, which I was lucky enough to help support. Through my internship, I was able to develop processes for the foundation, doing some of their key administrative processes during the busiest time of their annual life cycle in preparation for the Symposium.

I really enjoyed my internship because it helped me gain a better understanding of the nonprofit sector. There are so many nonprofit organizations in and around DC that we don't come in contact with as students. The Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation does invaluable work benefiting individuals in the US, and abroad. I loved my time at this organization because it gave me a perspective on both the business aspects of the foundation and the day to day functions that are common to a small non-profit with extensive national reach and multi-faceted lines of service.”

- Isabel Meskers, Business Analytics and International Business, GWSB ‘19

Jonathan Kvilhaug
Jonathan Kvilhaug was awarded an Eco-Equity Challenge Award to promote environmental engineering education for the DMV NSBE Jr. chapter. He is pictured above at the Student Earth Reception, hosted by President LeBlanc.

“This past semester I was involved in a research project with professors Royce Francis (SEAS) and Amanda Northcross (GWSPH) to understand how air quality varies throughout the District of Columbia on a neighborhood level. By using low cost air quality monitors, Internet of Things (IoT) connectivity, and LoRa communication technology, the objective of the project was to provide an understanding of whether air quality (particulate matter and criteria air pollutants) varied at the neighborhood level resolution from regional regulatory readings provided by the EPA. 

The part of the project that I most enjoyed was its focus on community engagement, where its guiding vision was to have community involvement within every neighborhood the project partners with; with the ultimate objective of reaching every neighborhood. My favorite memories included speaking about the scope of the project with communities in Wards 7, 6, and 1 amongst groups ranging from homeowners associations to the DMV chapter of NSBE Jr. (National Society of Black Engineers). The intention of the project was also to begin installation in historically underserved neighborhoods with the intention of focusing on the issue of environmental inequity within Washington DC. Through my involvement with the project I have also enjoyed applying for funding opportunities both internally at GW and seeking external funding as well.”

- Jonathan Kvilhaug, Geography and Geographic Information Systems, CCAS '21

Francesca Ribaudo

“I worked in Pesquera Diamante - a company in the fishing industry in Huanuco, Peru. I worked in the sustainability area for a project called Tambos Pesqueros - they are kiosk-like stores where fish is sold in marginal communities in the Peruvian Highlands. Women are in charge of this stores. Pesquera Diamante saw a huge opportunity to help this community combat malnutrition and anemia providing them with Jurel & Caballa (the fish sold there). My most memorable experience was being able to connect with the population, mostly the women who worked there. It was amazing to hear the stories of actual changes not only in nutrition and health, but also how working in Tambos Pesqueros made them confident and empowered.”

- Francesca Ribaudo, International Business, GWSB ‘19

Tara O'Donnell

“I worked at Gallaudet University's Deaf Health Communication and Quality of Life Center, a lab that conducts research on health outcomes of deaf and hard of hearing individuals, disseminates the information to deaf individuals nationwide, and makes recommendations to policymakers to enact change in order to achieve health equity for these populations. My favorite part of this culminating experience was being able to work with a variety of individuals in the lab and learn more about each person's unique project to understand how the mission of the lab is achieved in so many diverse ways.”

- Tara O'Donnell, Public Health, MSPH ‘19

Emily Robinson

“I worked with GW’s Sustainability Academic Programs, where I reported and interviewed students on their environmental work and research. I really enjoyed getting to better understand all the sustainability programming at GW in addition to meeting other students interested in environmental studies. From the practitioner forums and alternative breaks to research funding and internship opportunities, there’s no shortage of ways to get involved with other groups on campus!

During undergrad I worked with Planet Forward, creating stories ranging from GW’s Urban Bee apiary atop Lisner Hall to a 360-degree video of Manaus, Brazil. I also interned for National Geographic Society and various creative marketing and technology agencies that did a lot of environmental advocacy work. My culminating experience was a great way to cap off my sustainability studies. I look forward to putting the knowledge I’ve gained into action and continuing my environmental education after graduation!”

- Emily Robinson, Journalism and Mass Communication, SMPA ‘19

Lauren Lamar

“As an intern at the Peace Corps’ Department of Strategic Partnerships and Intergovernmental Affairs, I assisted in reviewing partnerships inquiries and evaluating the current status of partnerships with Peace Corps in the public, private, and non-profit sectors. My most memorable experience as an intern was the opportunity to attend a meeting with the Director of Peace Corps to discuss the renewal of a current partnership and the complexities behind it.”

- Lauren Lamar, International Affairs, ESIA ‘21

Lydia Igna

“I worked as an Internal Audit Intern at the Office of the Inspector General for the Federal Reserve Board of Governors. My favorite part was definitely building close relationships with my co-workers and learning the ins and outs of the institution in order to fulfill its mission of being a trusted oversight of the Board and Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.”

- Lydia Igna, International Business, GWSB ‘19


Article by Emily Robinson (CCAS ‘19)