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Sustainability Internships

Academic Year Internships

Sustainability UCIS Seminar Coordinator
The Sustainability UCIS employs one student intern each academic year as logistics manager for the Sustainability Speaker Series. Applications are solicited each fall through the Office of Student Employment. Interns work approximately 10 hours per week.

Sustainability Newsletter Editor
The Office of the Provost employs one student each academic year to assume complete responsibility for developing stories and overseeing dissemination of the bi-weekly sustainability newsletter, UR GREENews. Applications are solicited each fall through the Office of Student Employment. Interns work 10 hours per week.

Summer Internships 2014

College of Arts, Sciences and Engineering
The College is again sponsoring sustainability-related summer internships for students enrolled in undergraduate programs in the College. It will provide a $1000 stipend and free campus housing for the months of June and July to selected students. (Please note that the offer of free campus housing cannot be converted into funds for off campus housing.) Interested students may apply by email, by sending a resume and letter of interest to Prof. Randall Curren at The letter should indicate the specific internship(s) sought. Applications will close March 14th and assignments will be announced by March 21st.

  • Professor John Osburg (Anthropology) will sponsor an intern to do research on sustainability issues and how they are perceived in China by both the government and ordinary citizens. The aim of the project is to add an environmental component to the course, Chinese Society after Mao. The intern will research the environmental implications of China's dramatic economic growth and assist Professor Osburg in identifying useful readings and gathering basic data on resource shortages, energy use, and CO2 emissions in China.

    Qualifications: The intern will ideally have advanced reading ability in Chinese and familiarity with Chinese social media.
  • Pat Beaumont (Director Support Operations) & Amy Kadrie (Recycling Coordinator) will sponsor an intern who would ideally engage in both sustainability research and the duties of a Facilities Sustainability Assistant. The ideal candidate will have a background and interest in environmental sustainability. The person will use independent judgment to assist the Recycling Coordinator with evaluating and improving recycling and sustainability programs, as well as with the preliminary research and proposals required for the creation of new programs. Note: This position cannot be held along with any elected positions on student sustainability group executive boards, due to the confusion this creates in expectations and responsibilities.

    Qualifications: The intern should have a background in sustainability, strong verbal and written communication skills, and effective networking and organizational skills.
  • Professor Randall Curren (Philosophy) will sponsor an intern to research policies and practices pertaining to carbon offsets for business travel and assist him in developing a proposal concerning carbon offset policy and practices at the University of Rochester. What are colleges, universities, and other employers doing to encourage or facilitate carbon offsets for travel or to reduce direct emissions from travel? What is known about the actual and potential costs and benefits of carbon offset programs, in the context of the overall carbon footprints of university operations and those of university employees? The aim is to develop a proposal and supporting documentation that can be brought before the University Council on Sustainability in September.

    Qualifications: The intern should have a background in sustainability studies and strong research, writing, and communication skills.
  • Professor Katrina Korfmacher (Environmental Medicine) is seeking a student with strong interest and background in environment, health, and/or policy to research and develop 1-2 case studies related to environmental health policy. These case studies will be integrated into an undergraduate environmental health policy. Case study topics may include chemicals policy reform, air quality, occupational health, or coastal floodplain management, among others.

    Qualifications: Strong research, writing, and communication skills essential; coursework or experience related to environmental health policy helpful. The student must be self-directed and able to work independently.
  • Professor David Wu (Chemical Engineering) will sponsor an intern to participate in his biofuel research. He uses a molecular biology approach to study the microbial enzyme system that breaks down recalcitrant cellulosic materials into fermentable sugars, which are in turn converted to ethanol or other biofuels through a fermentation process. The molecular biology approach will be used for engineering the microorganism for a more efficient cellulose-ethanol conversion process.

    Qualifications: The intern will need background and interest in biological science.

Past Summer Internships

Since 2010, the School of Arts, Sciences and Engineering has funded six Sustainability internships each summer.  The following is a list of projects and supervising faculty.


  • list pending


  • Enzymatic Breakdown of Cellulosic Biomass for the Conversion to Biofuels
    • Sponsor:  David Wu, Chemical Engineering
  • Animal Research and Rural-Urban Environmental Connections
    • Sponsors:  Leila Nadir, Sustainability and Cary Peppermint, Art and Art History
  • Sustainability in Study-Abroad Courses
    • Sponsors:  Jackie Levine, Study Abroad and Karen Berger, Earth and Environmental Sciences
  • Education and Research Metrics for STARS
    • Sponsor:  Karen Berger, Earth and Environmental Sciences
  • Operations and Planning Metrics for STARS
    • Sponsor:  Pat Beaumont, Support Operations
  • Forest Preservation in South Campus Woods
    • Sponsors:  Justin and Tara Ramsey, Biology


  • Development of EES 219:  Energy and Society
    • Sponsor:  Karen Berger, Earth and Environmental Sciences
  • Enzymatic Breakdown of Cellulosic Biomass for the Conversion to Biofuels
    • Sponsor:  David Wu, Chemical Engineering
  • Management of South Campus Forest and Development of Teaching Materials
    • Sponsor:  Justin Ramsey, Biology
  • Assessment of Integrated Sustainability Curricula
    • Sponsors:  Randall Curren, Philosophy and Ellen Metzger, San Jose State University
  • Sustainability Newsletter – Communications Intern
    • Sponsor:  Carol Shuherk, Senior Associate Provost
  • Sustainable Dining in Upstate New York
    • Sponsor:  Cam Schauf, Dining Services and Auxiliary Operations)


  • Sustainable Coffee Production in Honduras
    • Sponsor:  Daniel Reichman, Anthropology
  • The Economics of Recycling and Economics of Sustainability
    • Sponsor:  Michael Rizzo, Economics
  • Sustainable 3D Art Practice
    • Sponsor:  Allen Topolski, Art and Art History
  • Development of BIO 264:  Ecological Communities
    • Sponsor:  Justin Ramsey, Biology
  • University Council on Sustainability Initiatives Group Revolving Loan Fund Project
    • Sponsors:  Pat Beaumont, Support Operations and Ben Ebenhack, Chemical Engineering
  • Enzymatic Breakdown of Cellulosic Biomass for the Conversion to Biofuels
    • Sponsor:  David Wu, Chemical Engineering