Meet the 2018-2019 Fellows

UB's ELFS are the ambassadors to sustainability on our college campus. They communicate the concerns on climate change and the need for equity and diversity in making our world a better, more resilient place. 

This year, the fellowship is structured with the UN's Sustainable Development Goals as a guide. Each fellow is on a mission to master each one of the seventeen goals. They will do this by attending events and workshops, infusing sustainability into their class projects and presenting their research. They will work on projects that leave their legacy on UB's campus, and develop new ideas that could impact our region, country, and world. 

ELFS are rewarded for the amount of goals that they have completed during the school year. The ELF with the most goals completed in April will be recognized with a special award at our SLICE ceremony. 

Mariam Al Adsani

Mariam Al Adsani.

Major: Psychology

Year: Freshman

Bio: I was born and raised in Kuwait. My interests include Philosophy, Psychology, Environmental Studies, English, Media. I took a course about Neuroscience and Health last summer at Brown University, and from then on knew I wanted to study abroad in the USA; bringing us to now. 

Mariam's Progress

SDG Scorecard.

SDG Accomplishments

3. Good Health and Well-Being

I wrote a paper about the complexities behind the ethics of eating meat. I focused on the environmental aspect that Animal Agriculture does, the toll that the fashion industry has on the environment, and the economic impact that fuels this demands, as well as how vegan products are creating a new economy.

11. Sustainable Cities and Communities

The Environmental Network at UB provided us a tour at the Commissary; where most of the food from campus is composted. During the tour we learned the overall process of how food is composted in UB, how UB gets rid of excess compost, and future endeavors of a sustainable Campus and Dining.

14. Life Below Water 

The SA Environmental Affairs office organized a beach clean up at Erie Lake for a variety of organizations on Campus to take part in. As a member of the Environmental Network I attended the cleanup in order to promote cleaner life below water and on land. Upon volunteering I found an abundance of miscellaneous items that contribute to massive waste, like: glass bottles, an injection, micro plastics, and cigarette butts.

Olivia Burgner

Major: Management Information Systems and Finance

Year: Junior

Bio: My name is Olivia Burgner, a junior in the school of management. I am from Long Island, New York and enjoy traveling. This past summer I backpacked much of Western Europe with one of my best friends. I learned a lot about myself and ability to be adaptable from this trip. The ELF program interests me because I am interested in social innovation. I am a business major but also am interested in corporate social responsibility and think that being an ELF will be able to help me in the future when I go into the real working world. I hope to take away knowledge of sustainability is a host of different aspects that I will later be able to apply to the workplace. 

Olivia's Progress

SDG Scorecard.

SDG Accomplishments

Grace Celik

Grace Celik.

Major: Studio Art with a Minor in Environmental Design

Year: Senior

Bio: I am in my last semester at the University at Buffalo finishing my undergraduate degree in Studio Art with a minor in Environmental Design. My classes and inspiring professors, especially Professor Alfred Price in the Urban Planning Department, helped my find my passion in Planning and Architecture. My interested is mainly in creating sustainable architecture within a sustainable planned city. Working with my professors and peers in this area and also my work at a Graphic Designer and Communications Assistant at UB Sustainability, encouraged me to further my education. I am applying to the Urban Planning and Architecture Dual Masters Program for Spring 2019. I am very excited to dive deeper in to sustainable urban planning and architecture, while working with local communities to encourage the Buffalo Renaissance.  I worked with the ELFs program last year and really enjoyed the experience of working with a group of like-minded students leaders on a long term project, the Sustainability Report. We established a good foundation analysis that our group wants to push into action. I hope that this year we can further the develop our project in a more meaningful and engaging way for students. 

Grace's Progress

SDG Scorecard.

SDG Accomplishments

5. Gender Equality

Bethone Lecture Series

The American Institute of Architects sponsors the Bethune Lecture Series to strive to understand the barriers to women and minority progress as well as raise awareness of diversity issues. 

7. Affordable and Clean Energy

Winona LaDuke Lecture

Winona is known as a leader in the issues of cultural-based sustainable development strategies, renewable energy, and sustainable food systems. Her lecture, through the RENEW lecture series, focused on protecting natural resources and taking advantage of renewable sources of energy.

8. Decent Work and Economic Growth

Happening: A Clean Energy Revolution 

Filmmaker James Redford embarks on a colorful personal journey into the dawn of the clean energy era as it creates jobs, turns profits, and makes communities stronger and healthier across the US.

9. Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure

Sustainability Analysis of West Side Green Development Zone Semester Project

Assistant Professor Hamstead's class, Sustainable Urban Environment, facilitated hands-on direct community engagement within the West Side Green Development Zone. Throughout the semester long project, we analyzed a variety of factors within the neighborhood including; green infrastructure, economic development, and environmental injustices. 

10. Reduced Inequalities

Participation in the Western New York Youth in Climate Justice Initiative 

11. Sustainable Cities and Communities

What's Next for Buffalo/Niagara forum was a presentation and discussion on the results of the previous workshop. The workshop participants included planning scholars from across North American and beyond. The focus was to identify the threats and opportunities that the Buffalo city-region must prepare for and respond to. The subject matter included; environment/energy, economy/jobs, housing/neighborhoods, land use/transportation/metropolitan form, and civic culture/governance. 

13. Climate Action

Clean Air Coalition Internship

My internship at the WNYCAC focused on developing print, digital, and web-based communications for clean air and environmental justice advocacy work. 

16. Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

Participation in the Western New York Youth in Climate Justice Initiative 

17. Partnership for the Goals

Participation in the Western New York Youth in Climate Justice Initiative 

Crystal Clarke

Crystal.

Major: Sociology

Year: Senior

Bio: Hi, my name is Crystal Clarke. I am currently a senior majoring in sociology. This summer I had the opportunity to study Food and Culture in Greece. It was a wonderful experience being able to meet and connect with the locals, eat in tavernas, visit farms and cooking with organic home grown food. Fall 2018 I was certificated for having global competency through the torch leadership program. 

Crystal's Progress

SDG Scorecard.

SDG Accomplishments

4. Quality Education

Help students in low income neighborhoods apply for college and the FASFA form for a school project. 

Eric Davis

Eric Davis.

Major: Chemical Engineering

Year: Sophomore

Bio: I am an independent hard worker from Rochester, NY. I enjoy getting involved and working as a team on projects and being a leader. I am interested in outdoors and raquet sports including pickleball and raquetball. I love sports and being social with my family and friends. UB is a great place to be and we need to continue to make it a better place for everyone. 

Eric's Progress

SDG Scorecard.

SDG Accomplishments

9. Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure

How I Built This: Bradley Cheetham

Entrepreneurship and developing new ideas are key to solving the problems of today and tomorrow. Innovation in space industry gives positive results in many different parts of people's life including: GPS, television, communication devices, national security, climate change, weather patterns and protection from natural disasters. 

16. Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions 

Senator Gillibrand visits UB: The senator talked about what she believes are the main concerns in Western NY and the entire country and how the federal and state government can help with problems and solve concerns (17). The government is a great tool and partner to solving the goals that the UN presented to the world and many of these goals can not be met unless there is a push from the government to regulate and fund projects and non-profits that are trying to meet these goals. Change is what we are all trying to bring about and one way to change who represents us in local gov and the nation is by having your voice be heard in many ways such as voting and getting involved however you feel comfortable.  

Alex Dennison

Alex.

Major: Business Management with a Finance Concentration

Year: Senior

Bio: As a young child my family has rooted me in an appreciation for the outdoors. As an avid fly-fisherman of the local tributaries of Western New York, I have seen first hand how climate change and human destruction has brought down fish populations. I believe everyone can serve to protect our environment and improve out standard of living as well as the species around us. I'm often perceived as an outgoing individual who values discipline over most human elements. I envision myself opening my own hedge fund one day in finance world to exercise my resources and connections and fund renewable energy and living conditions in redlined/minority districts.

Alex's Progress

SDG Scorecard.

SDG Accomplishments

Rohan Garg

Rohan.

Major: Management Information Systems

Year: Graduate

Bio: Coming from one of the fastest developing countries in the world, I have experienced how technology and education can make a big impact on one's life. From the start, my interests were aligned that I should be able to use my knowledge in a way that helps to shape a better future for everyone directly or indirectly. The amount of satisfaction that I receive in knowing the fact that if my actions are making a positive impact somewhere in the world in someone's life. This feeling drives me to keep on going further and to do more in life.

Rohan's Progress

SDG Scorecard.

SDG Accomplishments

8. Decent work and Economic Growth

The Erie Hack infosession is an opportunity to combine our own expertise with solid mentoring to create technologies with the potential to invigorate Lake Erie’s environment and economy.

Anish Kirtane

Anish Kirtane.

Major: Environmental and Water Resources Engineering

Year: Graduate 

Bio: I have had a passion for environmental conservation and sustainability for many years now. This brought me to USA to study environmental biology (SUNY-ESF) and now starting my masters in environmental engineering here at UB. The most important part of environmental sustainability is constant and updated awareness. I have dedicated my professional life to making world a better place, and many times, that does not seem enough. I hope, by joining ELFS I will be able to further increase the outreach of the impact of my work. I look forward to being involved on campus and out in various sustainability related activities. Meeting like minded and driven students who are making an impact in their personal and professional lives. I look forward to be empowered moving ahead with with a career in environmental field with connections and skill I acquire through ELFS. I am an avid wildlifer and environmental biologist from India, now converting to environmental engineering. I have spent a semester at sea studying oceanography and marine biology for 4 months while circumnavigating the world on a ship. Before starting my education in the states, I was working with eco-tourism agencies and local government on tiger conservation primarily in Tadoba-Andhari Tiger Reserve. 

Anish's Progress

SDG Scorecard.

SDG Accomplishments

3. Zero Hunger

Volunteering at Organic Farms

I spent my winter break volunteering with WWOOF WorldWide Opportunities on Organic Farm. I volunteered at an urban vegetable farm in Oakland as an organic vineyard and winery in Ukiah for a total of three weeks.

6. Clean Water and Sanitation

AEESP Distinguished Lecturer: Dr. Lut Raskin

Dr. Lut Raskin has been pushing the envelope with novel research on treating waste water and sewage through anaerobic digestion of microorganisms. They eat up the wastes in our water potentially allowing the water to be recirculated into drinking water streams past tertiary treatment. 

14. Life Below Water

National Conference on Environmental DNA- Environmental DNA is a rapidly growing field of biodiversity and ecology assessment. eDNA researchers try to optimize the power of molecular study methods and apply them to larger conservation problems such as biodiversity monitoring, detection of rare and illusive species and population and biomass estimates. My masters work deals with the later of the three applications; "estimating fish stock biomass using eDNA in marine environments". I will be learning the novel approaches in this already cutting edge technology from leaders in the field and also share some of my preliminary work.

Priyanka Kuchhal

Major: Finance

Year: Graduate

Bio: I am person who is inquisitive to know as much as I can. I am a social person and always like to know more about the different personalities and their interests. I always have the drive to help others in whichever possible way.

I am passionate about fine arts and dancing. Apart from these I have keen interests in Social Finance, developing business models,policy and strategy formulation and have good acumen in performing business analysis.

Previously, I worked in the Financial Management Group at Macquarie Global Limited, wherein I was awarded for excellent performance. I had published my own paper on Trans Pacific Partnership. I was also awarded first position at one of the Case Study Competitions organised at the University level. Apart from these I had served as an Event head, Editorial Head and Creative Head in different Clubs at my University.

Priyanka's Progress

SDG Scorecard.

SDG Accomplishments

Mike McDonald

Mike McD.

Major: SCOM, International Business

Year: Junior

Bio: I'm interested in solving modern transportation issues. Specificelly, the supply chain and resources used in the long-term resilient infrastructure to support future smart car and other transportation technologies.

Mike's Progress

SDG Scorecard.

SDG Accomplishments

16. Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions 

Joe Biden visits UB

Maya Prabhakar

Major: Geology

Year: Sophomore

Bio: I am currently a sophomore in the geology program and I aim to graduate a year early. I started doing research in May of 2018 and am in the process of applying to grants to conduct my own experiment. I am an honors student and on the dean's list. I wish to go into research and my two favorite subjects at the moment are micropaleoecology and volcanology, but I find picking one subset of study within my field of academics to be challenging at the moment. I'm quite shy and inexperienced academically, but one of my biggest goals is to improve upon those qualities and essentially work to be confident and more prepared for a career in research during my undergraduate years. I also even out my studies with language and mythology courses in order to have some fun. 

Maya's Progress

SDG Scorecard.

SDG Accomplishments

5. Gender Equality

High School Shadowing Event

This event was meant to encourage girls in Buffalo city schools to pursue a college degree in the sciences. I helped give a tour of the UB Stable Isotopes and Biogeochemistry Lab which helped demonstrate the practical applications of higher education with an emphasis on women in science and engineering. Ideally, experiencing classes and learning about opportunities for women in higher education would help convince these girls to pursue an academic career in the sciences and keep them from becoming discouraged. Several girls seemed excited about applying to college.

13. Climate Action

Pegrum Lecture: Dr. Shomacker

Dr. Shomacker is a Quaternary geologist, glaciologist, and Paleoclimatologist. His lecture was on glacial response to external forcing of climate changes in the arctic circle, concentrating on the Holocene on Svalbard. During the Holocene Thermal Maximum, and during the period of maximum insolation, there was a glacial advance during an overall glacial retreat. This was evidenced by sediment deformation from glaciers entering a shallow marine environment. This new, higher resolution understanding of glacial dynamics warrants more research into the feedback systems of glaciers and complexity of glacial change in the arctic. All glacial research in the arctic is conducted with modern climate change in mind. A better understanding of glacial systems will help create better models and therefore provide better insight into the changes the arctic will experience with modern conditions.

14. Life Below Water

Pegrum Lecture: Rich Jowett

Rich Jowett works for BHP as a geoscientist. He creates 3D models of oceanic floor rock layers. He managed to reduce the time it takes to analyze and start work at a drilling site from 6 years to 2 years. It creates a 3D map so accurate, that it reduces the number of drilling sites required to start a well and improves the quality of each site in a much reduced time. The 3D imaging has not only revolutionized drilling, but it has also provided a lot of high resolution data on the geology of the sea floor. The images were taken within the oceanic jurisdiction of Trinidad and Tobago, an active subduction zone, and the mapping created an image of the layers of the ocean floor around this contact. It showed several unexplained displacement changes on what should be a relatively planar set of beds in an abyssal zone. Since the layers mapped using radioimaging can be age calibrated using older well sites, these contacts of interest can be dated very accurately before drilling (a fact confirmed after BHP's drilling started), and the chronostratigraphy of the region can be confidently mapped. The ocean floor is rarely mapped, especially to this degree of resolution, showing the geological history of this particular subduction zone. Essentially, it shows the dynamic changes in the plates over the past few geological eras. 

Sarah Quinones

Sarah Quiones.

Major: Environmental Health

Year: Graduate

Bio: I'd like to consider myself an academic, in the sense that I take lessons out of every interaction and observations. I enjoy the world around me and want to ensure that I do my part to optimize the prosperity of all creatures and aspects of the planet's life cycle. I enjoy hiking, rock collecting, aquariums/zoos, reading. I have worked for the state of New York as a research assistant, an opportunity that has provided me with great insight into what it is I want to do with my career and time. 

Sarah's Progress

SDG Scorecard.

SDG Accomplishments

6. Clean Water and Sanitation 

Winona LaDuke: The Need for Water Protectors

Winona's Discussion on how to make life beautiful is complemented by her deep understanding of economics and her ability in empowering the disenfranchised to mobilize and protect their rights that have been superceded by those of corporations. Interesting I thought was her approach to ensuring clean water. When we commonly consider clean water, infrastructure and sanitation is in the discussion. Winona posits that resisting infrastructural damage to our nature systems that have their own mechanisms to purify water. Great Talk!

7. Affordable and Clean Energy

Presentation of Research into Air Pollutants Penetration through Placental Barrier

In this presentation, I had highlighted the limitations of current air pollution standards in protecting the vulnerable population of fetuses and the pregnant women that carry them based upon a myriad of recently published studies. The research and analysis are based out of London, England, although the situation is analogous to any urban region worldwide that could benefit from a revamped approach to air pollution monitoring and regulation. 

9. Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure

The New Normal- Preparing for Climate Change Impacts on Supply Chain Management

This event included many presentations by panelists in the fields of climate as well as the many facets of supply chains in many industries. Climate Change is undoubtedly occurring and there need to be adjustments on all parts of the supply chain spectrum in order to maintain resiliency whilst promoting economic growth. 

10. Reduced Inequalities

Each week, my class covers a different component of the all too complex Health Care system here in the US. This particular week well aligns with reducing inequalities as the experts in this video's discussion elaborate on the biases that we absorb and enact without our knowledge and what could be done to eliminate some innate biases that have major adverse impacts on others in society. 

What is Health Equity, and Why does it Matter?

Allegories on Race and Racism: Camara Jones TEDxEmory

Tackling Ethnic Health Disparities: Lisa Cooper at TEDXBaltimore 2014

Reducing Health Inequalities: Advancing Meaningful Change

13. Climate Action

Climate Change and Great Lakes Wildlife and Ecosystem Memorandum of Understanding

My group in my Contemporary Issues of Public Health Course with a semester long focus on climate change have been charged with the development of a mock Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) outlining goals, objectives, activities, and evidence to the significance of mitigating the climate changes impacts on Lake Michigan wildlife and ecosystems. 

14. Life Below Water

Coral Whispers Podcast

UB Law and Geography Professor Irus Braverman is interviewed about her recent research into coral reefs that was published in a book, Coral Whisperers. She touches on her interviews with over 100 scientists who study coral, climate, oceans, and aquatic ecosystems, describing their oscillatory approaches to coral future. Acknowledging that bleaching events among coral communities and increasing acidity in ocean bodies, many scientists express both hope and despair yet their work continues to understand and save coral reefs as they provide much needed biodiversity in oceans, central to the ecosystem of the planet in its entirety.

16. Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

NPQ Webinar Series: Remaking the Economy

This webinar series and this particular event's focus on remaking the economy identified the concentration in wealth within the American economy as unsustainable and also detrimental to progress for many Americans. In this country, wealth is power, and both are concentrated in the hands of few, dictating the lives of the many. Four different panelists provide practical examples of how we are all effected by wealth concentration and white supremacy ideation ruling our economic structures. In order to effect change and promote equity, grassroots organizations and nonprofits serve a central role. A major paradigm shift is upon us and is important to support in any aspect possible in order to allow an equitable, democratic economy to come to fruition. Thus, ensuring peace, justice, and strong institutions. 

Meredith Seibold

Meredith.

Major: Psychology; minors in Environmental Studies and Biology

Year: Sophomore

Bio: My name is Meredith Seibold and I am a sophomore from the town of Elma, NY, majoring in Psychology with minors in Environmental Studies and Biology.  When I'm not geeking out over science, I like to spend my time listening to music, hiking, and finding new shows to binge watch on Netflix.  I also love to travel and explore new places, and my favorite location I've been to is the island of Lokrum in Croatia.  Since I was young, I have been passionate about the health of the planet and have sought out ways to make a difference, from starting a cotton candy business and donating the profits to environmental charities as an elementary schooler to later promoting sustainability as Vice President of my high school's Environmental Club.  I am always looking to learn more about sustainable living and finding ways to take better care of the planet we all call home.  

Meredith's Progress

SDG Scorecard.

SDG Accomplishments

7. Affordable and Clean Energy

The Happening

As part of its Clean Energy Film Series, the Office of Sustainability hosted a screening of Happening: A Clean Energy Revolution. The documentary followed filmmaker Jamie Redford as he met with industry leaders, lawmakers, and citizens leading the push for renewable energy in their communities, including Buffalo. By presenting examples of the positive changes already being implemented throughout the country, this film provided an optimistic perspective of the typically grim topic of climate change. Reducing fossil fuel use and investing in sustainable energy is essential to creating a sustainable, resilient world and creating new economic opportunities.

12. Responsible Consumption and Production

Campus Dining and Shops Commissary Tour

During this tour, we learned more about the composting system at UB and how both pre- and post- consumer food waste is processed, stored, and used.  The Campus Dining and Shops director also discussed steps that are being taken now to reduce waste, including transitioning away from plastic straws at dining locations.  This relates to Goal 12's focus on "doing better with less" and reducing waste through every step in the production and consumption process.  

13. Climate Action

Winona LaDuke: the Need for Water Protectors

As part of the RENEW Distinguished Lecture Series, rural economist and author Winona LaDuke discussed the need for direct action to address environmental issues, especially in Native American communities affected by the construction of oil pipelines.  She emphasized that avoiding the catastrophic consequences of climate change requires a fundamental shift in humanity's relationship with the earth; specifically, the "relocalization" of agriculture and a transition toward renewable energy.  In order to effect meaningful change and protect the land and water upon which we depend, a multidisciplinary approach that involves collaboration between every academic field is essential.  These concepts directly relate to the UN's goal of taking immediate action to resist climate change and its impacts. 

Bailey Thetford

Bailey.

Major: Computer Science

Year: Freshman

Bio: Hi, my name is Bailey Thetford and I'm from New York City, specifically the lower east side of Manhattan in Alphabet City. I am an 18-year-old freshman at the University at Buffalo, majoring in Computer Science and minoring in Environmental Science. In the past, I have volunteered with forest conservation in Madagascar, wrote and performed two off-broadway plays, and designed a walkout for the 'no more guns' cause in April that went extremely well (we were on the news!). In the past, I have been a part of the feminist club, was an intern at a community garden thats main goal was sustainability and teaching the community about its advantages, and The Possibility Project for two years where one year I had a leadership role. 

Bailey's Progress

SDG Scorecard.

SDG Accomplishments

12. Responsible Consumption and Production

For a school project, I wrote about why humans should not eat as much meat as we do due to the fact that were over consuming animal products and it is not good for us.

14. Life Below Water

Lake Lasalle North Shore Restoration Project- I planted trees to make the bank of Lake Lasalle a better habitat for wildlife.