Sustainability Internships

The Office of Sustainability partners with the Student Sustainability Council and the Tracy Farmer Institute for Sustainability and the Environment (TFISE) to provide exciting and meaningful undergraduate internship opportunities.

The application period for the 2018-2019 internship program has closed. Applications for the 2019-2020 program will be announced in February 2019.


2018-2019 Position Descriptions 


Urban Forest Initiative: The Urban Forest Initiative (UFI) connects people to the urban forests of UK campus, Lexington and the Bluegrass Region through community outreach, research and education. 

Major responsibilities:

  • Assist with outreach and education projects, represent UFI at campus and community events, and engage with the public through social media.
  • Work in partnership with the UFI core team and working group members within the Lexington community to elevate the visibility and health of the urban forest in our community.
  • Develop an independent project that builds on the intern’s skills and interests while enhancing some aspect of the urban forest canopy or the public’s engagement with it.

Waste Reduction - Recycling and Reuse: This intern will assist the University Recycling Coordinator with a wide variety of waste reduction initiatives including recycling, reuse and composting. 

Major responsibilities: 

  • Develop outreach efforts including social media accounts, website updates, tabling and print media.
  • Other tasks relating to waste reduction initiatives on campus.
  • Develop an independent project focused on improving waste reduction on campus working in partnership with the University Recycling Coordinator, Sustainability Coordinator and other stakeholders

Energy - Efficiency and Conservation: This intern will assist the University Energy Engineer with the implementation of energy efficiency and conservation projects. 

Major responsibilities:

  • Assist with data collection and analysis.
  • Develop an independent project focused on improving efficiency and conservation relative to campus energy use in partnership with the University Energy Engineer, Sustainability Coordinator and other stakeholders.

Water Systems: The Water Systems Working Group is committed to promoting water-related research, education, and outreach. 

Major responsibilities:

  • Assist in the development of the Kentucky Master Naturalist Program.
  • Support planning of activities and support UK’s Water Week.
  • Develop an independent project designed to help educate faculty, staff, students, and the public about the Kentucky Master Naturalist program.

Built Environment: The Built Environment Working Group is an interdisciplinary group with collaborations throughout campus and the broader community, focused on bringing sustainable design to areas of Lexington. 

Major responsibilities:

  • Support planning and coordination of special events, such as Design Week
  • Document and promote Design Week activities on social media
  • Develop an independent project that builds upon the intern’s skills, interests, and career goals while enhancing the Built Environment Working Group’s efforts

Food Systems Initiative– Assessing the Benefits of Local Foods: The Food Systems Initiative connects UK’s work on local and sustainable food systems with the needs of food producers, buyers, and consumers on and off campus.  Its mission is linked with that of the Food Connection, located in The 90. 

Major responsibilities:

  • Synthesize existing information and gather new data to evaluate claims of benefits from local food systems.  Help write a publication for lay audiences evaluating the individual and community benefits of local food systems.
  • Serve as a liaison to student organizations to increase participation in the Food Connection’s student-oriented events.
  • If willing, participate in a “10% local food” diet, and document the experience through the Food Connection’s social media postings.
  • Assist with food and venue logistics for the First Friday speaker series.

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2017-2018 Interns & Projects

Find a list of past internships here.


UK Dining Sustainability Unit

Name: Josey Moore
Class Standing: Junior
Major: Agricultural Economics and Business
Hometown: Fallon, NV
About her internship: UK Dining's Sustainability manager is Carolyn Gahn and our unit works to coordinate more sustainable practices within the food production services on campus. Some of our projects include composting, recycling and buying local for the 28 locations on the University of Kentucky campus.


UK Dining Sustainability Unit


Name: Colin Marshall

Class Standing: Senior

Major: Environmental and Sustainability Studies

Hometown: Paducah, KY

About his internship: I work for the sustainability office of UK Dining where we try to reduce our environmental impact though sustainable practices. Some of our continuous initiatives include buying local, composting, and waste tracking and reduction.

I am working with the UK Dining Sustainability manager, Carolyn Gahn, along with Lilian Brislen from the food connection to spread awareness of the local food on campus. By creating a webpage for students to view the various local food options on campus, we hope to increase awareness of and purchasing of local food.​


Outreach and Coordination at The Food Connection

Name: Mackenzie Gibson

Class Standing: Sophomore

Major: Public Health

Hometown: London, KY

About her internship: I work with Lilian Brislen at The Food Connection. I mainly work with The First Friday Breakfast Series and any other major events that The Food Connections presents. I coordinate between volunteers, guests hosts, partners, and event attendees. I also coordinate with our Media Specialist for outreach through social media and designs for each First Friday Breakfast. My independent project is yet to be decided, but will be overlapping public health and food systems within our community and how to make local and healthy foods accessible to students on campus.


Promotions & Outreach with the Office of Sustainability


Name: Lauren Thomas

Class Standing: Senior

Majors: Communications, Environmental & Sustainability Studies

Hometown: Nashville, Tennessee

About her internship: I work with Shane Tedder in the Office of Sustainability to improve communications about campus sustainability initiatives. This takes the form of social media, web editing, graphic design, and email marketing.

My independent project is to develop an online Sustainability Hub to engage the student population in sustainable initiatives across campus.


Waste Reduction


Name: Cassie Odom

Class Standing: Junior

Majors: Geography & Environmental and Sustainability Studies

Hometown: Indianapolis, Indiana
About her internship: She works with Esther Moberly in UK Recycling. Her independent project will be to create and develop an on-campus thrift store.



Energy Efficiency & Conservation


Name: Oluwafeyisayo Afolabi

Class Standing: Junior.

Major: Electrical Engineering with minors in Math and Psychology.

Hometown: Lagos, Nigeria.


About his internship: I work under Britney Ragland, an energy engineer here at UK. I help her with various projects but currently we are working on the University of Kentucky Emissions Reduction Plan which is committed to a 25% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2025. We are still deciding what my Independent project will be, but it will likely be an extension of the Greenhouse gas project involving lighting.




Water Systems Working Group/Stream Restoration Intern


Name: Kayla Rosko

Class Standing:Junior

Major: Environmental and Sustainability Studies
Hometown: Fort Knox, KY
About her internship: I work under Dr. Carmen Agouridis to assist with the updating of UK's MS4 permit in regards to Public Education and Outreach and Public Involvement as related to Stormwater.



Water Systems Working Group/Stream Restoration Intern

Name: Sara Stewart

Class standing: Senior

Major: Natural Resources and Environmental Science

Hometown: Berea, Kentucky

About her internship: I am supporting the work of Dr. Carmen Agouridis, extension associate professor and faculty lead for the Water Systems Working Group, identifying opportunities for student, faculty, and staff involvement in stream restoration projects on campus. I am also aiding in the assessment and reporting of stormwater outreach, education, and public participation activities in compliance with UK's MS4 permit.

For my independent project, I plan on developing an Esri Story Map for water-related landmarks across campus.