Congratulations to all of our current and former intern and assistant graduates from the class of 2019. From implementing environmental education in Winston-Salem schools to creating videos that tell the story of sustainability at Wake Forest and everything in between, these passionate students have been integral in our sustainability efforts.

Peter Schlachte graduated summa cum laude with a degree in anthropology and minors in creative writing and environmental studies. He has served as an Environmental Education intern with the Office of Sustainability since spring 2018. During his three semesters in this internship he coordinated with the Piedmont Environmental Alliance (PEA) to recruit and train Wake Forest volunteers to teach environmental curricula in Forsyth County middle schools.

Peter’s reflection on his internship: My time serving as the environmental education intern with the Office of Sustainability has ultimately been my favorite experience at Wake Forest. There’s something so kinetic about the middle school students that I’ve been lucky enough to work with, and the excitement in their eyes when they get to try the hands-on demos is always so heartwarming. Similarly, the fellow interns, volunteers and staff that I’ve engaged with have taught me so much about what it means to not only act with professionalism, but most importantly, with care and joy for all around me — both human and non-human. It’s been a wonderful two years!

Cameron Waters graduated magna cum laude with a major in interdisciplinary honors environmental studies. After graduation Cameron will work at Highgate Farm in Marshall, NC and hopes to then move into international agricultural development work. Since fall 2017 she has been an intern with the Wake Forest Campus Garden, where she dedicated her work to creating a living laboratory demonstration of regenerative agricultural practices. Cameron partnered with professors and campus organizations to create a space for learning and embodied experiences that engaged participants in sustainable agriculture and its connection to the larger concepts of climate change and personal, community, and planetary resilience.

Cam’s reflection on her internship: My time working at the sustainability office has helped me grow in many ways. I started my internship unsure of my capabilities to be a leader on campus and questioned what changes I could make in the community. I felt like I knew almost nothing about what it took to work in agriculture or about food systems in general. Working with the other interns, doing outreach, and leading garden volunteer hours allowed me to develop skills and knowledge about different topics in sustainability on campus, and more specifically focus my attention and develop a passion for food — in every step, from production to distribution to waste. I’m incredibly grateful for the support of the community I’ve found working at the office, the mentorship I’ve received, and the connections it has allowed me to make. I’m proud of what the Campus Garden has become, that my confidence and belief in myself has been nourished, and that the skills I’ve taken from this internship are leading me to a number of potential careers that will allow me to continue to advocate for the things I care about.

Peter Wallace graduated magna cum laude with a degree in computer science and a minor in spanish. During the 2018-2019 academic year Peter put his passion for cycling and bike racing to work as the ReCycle Bike Share intern, helping expand the bike fleet, and launching new outreach initiatives to educate others about energy use. Peter will be moving to Mountain View, CA to work for Quicken as a web developer. 

Peter’s reflection on his internship: While I was initially hesitant about the project management structure, I found the organizational structure of the internship program to be a positive learning experience. Each week in the internship was an opportunity to connect with like-minded students and learn more about the breadth of sustainability initiatives on campus.

Savannah Baber graduated cum laude with a degree in English and politics & international affairs. She has been with the Office of Sustainability since 2017, first as a Public Art intern (2017-2018) and then as the Environmental Justice intern (2018-2019). As an eastern North Carolina native and member of the Chickahominy and Lumbee tribes, Savannah brought her experiences and passion for indigenous communities to her work with the Office. She has coordinated public art experiences that engage Wake Forest students with issues of environmental justice and worked with the Pro Humanitate Institute to create a knowledge community dedicated to local environmental justice. Savannah will pursue her JD at Columbia Law School this fall.  

Savannah’s reflection on her internship: Interning with the Office of Sustainability uncovered a passion for the environment I didn’t realize I had. Developing relationships with staff and my peers opened my eyes to multiple perspectives on how to address environmental challenges and build communities that are sustainable and balanced.

Zoe Helmers graduated cum laude with a degree in Spanish and minors in environmental studies and schools, education, and societies. As a Waste Reduction intern during the 2018-2019 academic year, Zoe created an inventory of all waste receptacles on the Reynolda campus, analyzed the results and presented her recommendations for changes. Zoe will move to New York City this summer to teach special education as a Teach for America Corps member.

Zoe’s reflection on her internship: I started out my involvement with the Sustainability Office as a Sustainability Ambassador, and realized I wanted to be even more involved. Sophomore year I decided to become a Greeks Go Green representative and then transitioned into a Waste Reduction Intern, where I learned so much. I learned not only about how to be independent but also work on a team of amazing people that I would never have met if not for the Sustainability Office. I have definitely grown more confident when presenting to our group about my ideas and creation of projects and I believe it will suit me really well when I am in New York City.

Emma Hughes graduated with a degree in economics and minors in environmental studies and statistics. Since fall 2017 Emma has been a Greeks Go Green (GGG) intern, empowering social and service organization  representatives to incorporate sustainable practices and ideals into their daily lives through action, discussion, and the tools to teach their chapter members how to do the same. Emma will continue to explore her passion for the environment this summer as an intern with the National Parks Conservation Association. This fall she will pursue her Masters in Environmental Management at the Duke University Nicholas School of the Environment.

Emma’s reflection on her internship: I had a great experience with my Greeks Go Green internship. The skills I learned are invaluable. I learned how to work collaboratively with others, develop and implement projects and how to empower others. And that’s just to name a few. I also learned the value of sustainability and how institutions can adopt sustainable policies. And on top of all of that, I developed some wonderful relationships with my supervisors and my peers. The experience was truly invaluable.

Meet the woman behind the camera: Lauren Hartmann. Lauren graduated cum laude with a degree in English and minors in environmental studies and film studies. During the 2018-2019 academic year Lauren used her knack for visual storytelling as our multimedia assistant, highlighting the Office of Sustainability’s initiatives and programs through videos about everything from bike safety to the compost crew. This summer she will take her talents to Costa Rica where she will work as a photographer/videographer at a surf camp. Following this venture, she hopes to return stateside to pursue some sort of multimedia position — combining photography, videography, and writing in a creative way. Ideally for Lauren, this position will be in the outdoor or music industries.

Lauren’s reflection on her assistantship: I love the Office of Sustainability — the people here and the mission as a whole! This opportunity with the office has been integral in growing my knowledge and ability to break down hard topics and make them manageable for the general population to understand. In addition, my time at the office has grown my confidence immensely! I know I’ll be using what I learned here about effective and creative communication for any future position I might have.

Whether she is choreographing a dance for the Tedford Stage or writing an article about plant-forward diningKellie Shanaghan brings lyricism to all that she does. Kellie graduated magna cum laude with a degree in politics & international affairs and triple minors in environmental studies, journalism, and dance. As a content development assistant during the 2018-2019 academic year, Kellie created compelling stories about environment and sustainability through writing, photography, and even an infographic about energy use on campus. She will be in Europe until September 2019 and plans to pursue a career related to environmental policy and sustainability when she returns. Eventually, she hopes to attend graduate school.

Kellie’s reflection on her assistantship: My experience in the Office of Sustainability has given me a breadth of professional experience and taught me how to leverage my skills for something I am passionate about. As a content assistant I have improved my writing, gained experience with social media campaigns, and learned how to discuss environmental issues with a broad audience. Promoting sustainable practices among my peers and telling stories about the environmental stewardship already happening on campus has truly been a privilege. Although I was only part of this team for a year, the friendships I made and skills I have learned will stay with me for life.

When he wasn’t on the floor with Wake Debate, Adam Tomasi helped raise awareness about the Center for Energy, Environment and Sustainability (CEES) and GHG emissions reductions on campus as a content development assistant. Adam graduated magna cum laude with honors in history and degrees in history and communication. His passion for higher education will lead him to Northeastern University this fall to pursue a PhD in History.

Adam’s reflection on his assistantship: Working for the Office of Sustainability was fantastic. I really learned a lot about how Wake Forest prioritizes low-waste and low-carbon initiatives, from our dining options to the LEDs in residence halls. I also enjoyed volunteering with the Compost Crew and handing out recycling bins during orientation. All of my colleagues were fantastic people as well!

We also extend our congratulations to all of our former interns:

Maggie Powell, who served as the Institutional Procurement intern spring 2016 through fall 2017, leading the development and piloting of successful recycled-content and paper-reduction campaigns. Maggie graduated cum laude with a degree in economics and minors in religion and environmental studies.

Talia Roberts, who served as the Digital Arts and Social Media intern in the spring 2017 and fall 2017 semesters. Talia graduated with a bachelor of arts in psychology and fine arts.

Wesley Skidmore, who served as the Energy Communications and Carbon Action Intern during the 2016 calendar year. Wesley graduated cum laude with a bachelor of arts in politics and international affairs and philosophy.