Wake Forest University

Alumni Spotlights - Sustainability at Wake Forest

Sustainability at Wake Forest

Alumni Spotlights

Alumni Spotlights

Where are they now: Katherine Sinacore

November 22nd, 2012

During her time at Wake Forest, Katherine Sinacore (’11) worked in the Office of Sustainability as one of two Green Team program development interns. Katherine helped lay the groundwork for and pilot the program, which has now blossomed into a campus-wide initiative.

After graduating with a major in biology and a minor in environmental science, Katherine enrolled in the MA Forestry Program at the University of New Hampshire, a well-known leader in environmental and ecological education and research. Sinacore just returned from a field season in the White Mountains, where she collected data about the variations of species composition and timber quality, before beginning her second year in the program.

Part of Katherine’s inspiration for her work stems from an immense appreciation for the diversity on our planet. In her words, “we are stewards of this land and should recognize the value of protecting it.”

What’s your favorite part of your graduate work?

There are really two parts that I enjoy about my work. One is the research side – I enjoy that my research has practical implications for management of northeast hardwood forests. Second is the teaching side – I have had the opportunity to teach both natural resource economics and an ecology course. I find both research and teaching very rewarding.

What do you hope to do after graduating from UNH?

Right now I am looking to continue my education. I am currently applying to PhD programs. Hopefully I will hear some good news in the next couple of months.

How well do you feel your education, specifically the environmental science minor at Wake Forest, prepared you for your current work?

One of the best aspects of the environmental science minor at WFU is the transdisciplinary nature of the courses. I took classes ranging from economics to ecology to sociology. These classes and the accompanying discussions within the classroom really helped prepare me for work in forestry – which links together the economics, ecology, and social aspects of land management. All these perspectives are really necessary if we want to make changes and I feel I learned this through the environmental science minor.

What is the most important issue facing our generation?

The impact we have on the environment is a big issue facing our generation. Luckily, we now have the tools to hopefully fix what we have done and move forward, toward a more sustainable future. The challenge lies in motivating and convincing people they can really make a difference.

What is your number one tip for living sustainably?

Be conscious of your daily decisions – in all aspects of your life. There is not just one way to be sustainable. Evaluate your choices and see what changes you can make in your own life. You might just inspire others to do the same!


By Joey DeRosa, Communications and Outreach Intern

Where are they now: Andrew Collins

May 7th, 2012

What inspires you to be sustainable?

An appreciation of the enormous amount of diversity present on our planet and an understanding of the value of conserving it. We depend on the natural world not only for our health and happiness, but for the cultural and economic value its services provide.  

What is the biggest issue facing our generation?

The impacts humans have had on the environment in the last century have been intensely felt all across the planet. We now understand the economic and social costs of non-sustainable ecosystem use. If we continue to see ourselves as dominators of nature, we are further dissociating ourselves from it. Our generation has been given an opportunity to begin to reverse this trend of devaluing the world’s ecosystems. The biggest issue we face is enacting this change, which can only happen through recognition that we are inherently dependent on the services the natural world provides. With 10.5 billion people by 2050, we must fully embrace this new perspective and make smart decisions based upon it.

What is your number one tip for living sustainably?

Live in a city. If you’re in the United States, live in New York City. High-density city living is an environmentally responsible choice.

 By Caitlin Edwards, Wake Forest Fellow

Would you or someone you know like to be featured in a “Where are they now” article? Send your story ideas to sustainability@wfu.edu