Student Assistants

UB Sustainability wouldn't be able to get all the work it does without the help from our amazing student assistants!

Janel Abbott

Janel Abbott

1. Name, hometown, year, major and personal passion

My name is Janel Abbott. I’m from Aurora Colorado and I am majoring in Chemical & Biological Engineering. My personal passion is hiking fourteeners in the Rocky Mountains.

2. Why did you decide to work with UB Sustainability?

UB Sustainability offered me the chance to work on Governor Cuomo’s REV Grant – an energy initiative to generate 100 MW of clean renewable energy. This grant will give me insight as to what practices Buffalo is doing to change its viewpoints on renewable and sustainable energy systems.


3. What do you love most about UB?

I enjoy the variety of opportunities UB offers to its students.


4. When you visit UB in 25 years, what do you hope to find?

In 25 years, I hope to see more women and underrepresented minorities in all of the STEM fields at UB.  


5. Fun fact/secret skill

My fun fact is that I can play the viola.

Grace Celik

Grace Celik

1. Name, hometown, year, major and personal passion

Hey guys! My name is Grace Celik and I am from Buffalo, NY. I’m a senior in Studio Art, in hopes of pursuing a Masters in Architecture at the University at Buffalo. My personal passion is Sustainable Architecture that contains elements of nature within design. 

2. Why did you decide to work for UB Sustainability?

As a designer I was ecstatic to find an occupation on-campus that allowed me to combined art with sustainable ideas through UB Sustainability’s Communications and Graphic Design position.  I believe it is vital that UB not only supports campus sustainable practices, but also indulges students within the process to create the next generation of globally minded and sustainability literate leaders. Working with UB Sustainability has been an opportunity to gain hands-on experience while implementing on-campus projects that make a difference.

3. What do you love most about UB?

I really appreciate the community UB has created for its students and all the opportunities it provides. I am also involved on campus as an Ambassador for the College of Arts and Sciences, as well as a part of the Education and Leadership Fellows in Sustainability (ELFS). Both have programs have created a platform in which I can greater my professional skills and network with local and national leaders.

4. When you visit UB in 25 years, what do you hope to find?

Overall, I hope that UB’s has strived farther than it ever in its sustainable practices and community engagement with its students.

5. Fun fact/secret skill

I am pursuing to further my education at UB through its Masters in Architecture program with a concentration on Ecological Practices.  I aspire create a more sustainable, healthy, vibrant and resilient world.

Mike Gac

Mike Gac

1. Name, hometown, year, major and personal passion

My name is Michael Gac. I’m from Depew, New York. I'm entering the third year of my three and half year program in Masters of Architecture.  I've always been pushing and exploring a lifestyle that is environmentally conscious, be it riding a bike to work, composting at my house or growing food in a personal garden.  


2. Why did you decide to work with UB Sustainability?
 UB has given me the opportunity to work on UB's GRoW Home, which received 2ndplace in the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon. In addition, I am currently working with UB Sustainability to relocate the house permanently to North Campus to be used as a student engagement space.

3. What do you love most about UB?

I appreciate that UB embraces a vastly diverse and competitive atmosphere, as a public institution, the opportunities are endless for research and career building.


4. When you visit UB in 25 years, what do you hope to find?


In 25 years, I hope that much of the mowed green space across South and North Campus are redesigned to encourage native species habitats, which would increase our biodiversity.


5. Fun fact/secret skill

My fun fact is that in 2013 I won an award for the construction of a parade float.

Mike McDonald

Mike McDonald

1. Name, hometown, year, major and personal passion

My name is Mike McDonald and my hometown is Syracuse, New York. I am a junior in the School of Management currently studying International Business and Supply Chain & Operations Management. I love to repair and re-use. I enjoy fixing my car or learning different home improvement remedies.

2. Why did you decide to work with UB Sustainability?

I first learned of sustainability just before I transferred to UB. As a business student, I thought of how exciting it would be to work with organizations to help develop more efficient and resilient methods of consumption and operation; creating greater capacities for new projects and initiatives, shaping communities, and consistently challenging the status quo.

3. What do you love most about UB?

The sky is the limit. Faculty and staff are always receptive to big ideas. A person can design their career at UB in any way they would like. Looking back, I am impressed as to how easy it was, as new student, to get involved and do great things throughout campus. 

4. When you visit UB in 25 years, what do you hope to find?

I will look to find a very successful Lake La Salle shoreline restoration. Additionally, I hope to find that UB has accomplished a Platinum rating for the aashe STARS report.

5. Fun fact/secret skill

A fun fact is that I am learning how to speak German.

Brandon Munson

Brandon Munson

1. Name, hometown, year, major and personal passion

My name is Brandon and I am an environmental studies major from Buffalo, NY. I am a junior and my personal passion is music. 

2. Why did you decide to work with UB Sustainability?

I came into working with UB Sustainability through my involvement with the UBReUSE and Zero Waste waste diversion programs

3. What do you love most about UB?

My favorite thing about UB is Letchworth Woods on North Campus.

4. When you visit UB in 25 years, what do you hope to find?

I would love to return and see that it remains a healthy and interesting hub for education. 

5. Fun fact/secret skill

My secret skill is that I can play the banjo!

Sydney Schauss

Sydney Schauss

1. Name, hometown, year, major and personal passion
My name is Sydney Schaus and I come from a town called Katonah, NY. My major is Environmental Studies with a minor in Geographic Information Systems and my personal passion is spreading knowledge and helping those around me. 

2. Why did you decide to work with UB Sustainability?
UB Sustainability gave me the opportunity to work on Gov. Cuomo's REV energy plan. Sustainability is another passion of mine and being able to work in this office allows me greater chances of being able to reach out to people who are searching for answers and opportunities similar to this one. The office is also filled with warm, like-minded individuals that show just as much passion as I do. 

3. What do you love most about UB?
UB has a lot to offer it's students and as a freshmen it's overwhelming how many options everyone is faced with. Now as an upcoming senior I realize that UB has something for everyone and it's just up to you to find out what really drives you and UB will definitely have a program or a professor that is willing to help you out and attain your goals.

4. When you visit UB in 25 years, what do you hope to find?

In 25 years, I hope to not only more diversity within the STEM fields but also I wish to see more fields getting involved with sustainability. From the arts to business to architecture, every field should have a sustainability coordinator and everyone should be involved in talks about living with respect to those around you. It can't just be up to one group of people to love the earth and care for it, it's everyone's job because this is everyone's home. 

Sydney Zuckerman

Syd Xuckerman

1. Name, hometown, year, major and personal passion

My name is Sydney Zuckerman and I'm from Olean, NY. I'm a first year Urban Planning graduate student. My passions are sustainable food systems, alternative agricultural methods, the politics behind implementing sustainable policies and how to increase public support of those policies. 

2. Why did you decide to work with UB Sustainability?
I decided to work for UB Sustainability because I was impressed by UB's sustainability efforts throughout the university and the larger Buffalo community. Working at UB sustainability is a great intersection of my studies and interests. I get to continue learning about sustainability practices and policies, while learning new communication skills! 

3. What do you love most about UB?

I love the dynamic community projects at UB - it's especially exciting as an Urban Planning student to see how the University directly impacts the development and change happening in the city of Buffalo.

4. When you visit UB in 25 years, what do you hope to find?

When I visit UB in 25 years, I hope to find an increasingly integrated University and city community, campuses that operate with complete alternative energy, and a Buffalo food system that promotes and thrives with sustainable urban agriculture. .

5. Fun fact/secret skill

My fun fact is that I'm a black belt in Karate