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Gioia Thompson, M.S. Natural Resources Planning

Sustainability Director

After working in the recycling arena, Gioia Thompson came to UVM in 1996 to begin working with a team, the Environmental Council, to bring more sustainable practices into campus life. In 2008 Gioia was appointed director of the Office of Sustainability, with another full-time staff member and three graduate student assistants. She is responsible for tracking the institution’s environmental performance; recommending environmentally responsible practices; working with students, faculty members, and staff members on projects; and connecting with the Vermont and higher education communities. Gioia received a B.A. in Environmental Studies in 1987 with an honors thesis on municipal leaf composting, and an M.S. in Natural Resources in 2000 on sustainability in higher education, both from the University of Vermont.

Mieko A. Ozeki, M.S., A.L.M

Sustainability Projects Coordinator

Download Work Plan [PDF]

Mieko joined UVM’s Office of Sustainability in 2008, after working for The Food Project, a sustainable agriculture non-profit organization, and Boston Day & Evening Academy, a charter high school. Her current responsibilities in the office include coordination of the department’s operations, project management, and administering the Clean Energy Fund. (For information on the Sustainability Projects Coordinator role, click on the original job posting). 

She holds a B.A. in Philosophy and minor in Studio Art and Honors Program from SUNY Geneseo (2001).  Mieko was a teaching fellow from 2001-2002 at Eagle Rock School and Professional Development Center, a residential high school in Estes Park, CO. She earned a M.S. in Environmental Education from the Audubon Expedition Institute at Lesley University (2004), where she studied and traveled in the Pacific Northwest, Big Island of Hawai’i, and the Atlantic Coast bioregions. During her final semester, she completed a curriculum development internship at the Urban Ecology Institute.

Mieko earned a Master of Liberal Arts (ALM) in Sustainability and Environmental Management at Harvard University Extension School (2011). She concluded her studies with a capstone project on best practices for implementing and managing campus student green funds.  Mieko is a Senior Fellow of the Environmental Leadership Program and Mentor for Wild Gift, a social entrepreneur fellowship program.

She wrote an article for AASHE's 2011 Review, "A Deeper Look: The Role of Green Funds on Campuses" and has presented at numerous conferences on green funds, sustainability project management, green careers, smart grid, and renewable energy implementation. Mieko co-authored AASHE's How-to Guide: Campus Green Fund Implementation with colleagues from the Campus Green Fund Collaborative. Mieko served as a steering member on AASHE's Conference Steering Committee, is a member of the ACUPCC's Implementation Liaison Support Committee, and recently became a member of AASHE's Education & Professional Development Steering Committee.

Mieko was an outdoor educator and kayak guide, trained through Outward Bound and the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS). She lives in Burlington with her husband Josh, where they paddle in their hand built wooden Greenland style sea kayaks as well as rowing, hiking, rock climbing, and skiing in the region.

Mieko's LinkedIn Profile

Adisun Wheelock '15

CEF Intern- UVM Central Heating Plant PV System

Adisun is currently in his junior year of study through the College of Engineering and Mathematics at UVM. He received his Associates degree in Electrical Engineering Technology through Vermont Tech and is now pursuing his Electrical Engineering degree at UVM with thoughts of minoring in both Computer Science and Mathematics. A native Vermonter, Adisun enjoys learning about advancements in the field of clean energy, and participating in such projects with hopes to one day be apart of a larger scale project. As the Clean Energy Fund intern, Adisun’s role is to document the installation of the new and retrofitted PV panels being installed on the rooftop of the Central Heating Plant and to post blogs describing the advancement of the project. Outside of class, he enjoys learning and designing with his Arduino board, hiking, and staying physically fit.


Ariana Cano

Drinking Water Initiative Intern & Eco-Reps Program Graduate Assistant

Ariana is originally from Caracas Venezuela, she then moved to South Florida where she spent the rest of her time. She attended Florida State University for her undergraduate education where she received a B.S in Political Science and a B.A in English. During her time at FSU she spent most of her extra-curricular time working at the Office of Sustainability where she focused her interest in environmental education. She worked on a bottled water ban campaign on campus, and coordinated a football game-day recycling program. Vermont is Ariana’s first exposure to four seasons, and although the snowy winters seem somewhat intimidating she is looking forward to the fall foliage and her time here at UVM. She will be working with the UVM Office of Sustainability on keeping the momentum going for the “Bye Bye Bottled Water Campaign” as well as aiding Steve and Julie’s leadership on the Eco-Reps program.

Charles Martin '16

Sustainability Outreach Intern

Charles is currently a sophomore in the College of Arts and Sciences. He is majoring in Environmental Studies with a concentration in Sustainability Studies and a minor in Psychology. Apart from his studies and time at the Office of Sustainability, Charles is also a student intern at the UVM Foundation as well as a member of the UVM Hit Paws A Capella group. Charles was born in Albany, NY and raised in Delmar, NY before moving to Vermont.

Elizabeth Palchak

Socially Responsible Investing Graduate Assistant

Supporting UVM's active role in managing its endowment responsibly includes research and outreach to the UVM community. Socially Responsible Investing (SRI) is a growing field, and one that UVM has embraced since the early 1980's. Before landing in Vermont, Elizabeth was a faculty member in Teton Science Schools' Graduate Program in Jackson, Wyoming. During five years at TSS, she created and taught a track in Sustainability Studies with a focus on social-ecological systems and systems thinking. She was named Teton Science Schools' first Sustainability Coordinator and led a sustainability audit of the school using a modified version of the AASHE STARS framework. She also directed the completion of the school's first sustainability report. Prior to Jackson Hole, Elizabeth taught as an adjunct professor of Environmental Science at Franklin Pierce University in New Hampshire and led NOLS courses in the Rocky Mountains. She loves trail running and backcountry skiing and exploring Vermont's green mountains. Elizabeth is pursuing a PhD in the Rubenstein School of Natural Resources and is interested in the role of markets in fostering renewable energy development.

Frederick Hall '15

Sustainability Outreach Intern

Embracing life to its fullest, Frederick is a strong advocate for a diverse lifestyle, both in and out of the classroom. Majoring in Economics and Environmental Studies, he is also an active member of the outing club. Gaining certifications in avalanche safety and as a wilderness first responder, he leads local backcountry ski trips for the UVM community and independently with friends. Other initiatives include participation in Home Energy Walk Through sessions to improve off-campus housing, serving on the Carbon Awareness Council (University of St. Andrews), while also acting as a peer tutor for the Economics Department. Frederick aspires to combine his fields of study to focus on the advancement of renewable energy, and hopes this sector will become a viable resource.

Hope Zabronsky '15

Sustainability Outreach Intern

Hope is currently a junior in the Rubenstein School of the Environment and Natural Resources. She is majoring in environmental studies with a concentration in policy, law and conservation studies and minoring in political science. Hope spent her past summer close to home in Washington, DC interning in the Forest Ecology Lab at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center directing an independent research project related to tree growth. She currently works for the University of Vermont Office of Admissions as a member of the Student Contact Team. Hope also serves as a Village Leader in the GreenHouse residential learning community facilitating environmental stewardship within the dormitory. In addition, she is a member of the Lambda Chapter of Kappa Alpha Theta at the University of Vermont and volunteers at FeelGood and Campus Kitchens Project. 


Julie Nash

Education and Outreach Graduate Assistant & Coordinator of UVM Eco-Reps Program

Julie teaches the Social Marketing for Sustainability Class and co-coordinates the UVM Eco-Reps Program. Through her work at the Office of Sustainability, Julie’s introduces students to the principles and techniques of social marketing for campus sustainability. Social marketing focuses on influencing individual behaviors by using commercial marketing principles to deliver a benefit to society. Understanding how to craft persuasive campaigns is a critical skill for those hoping to change sustainability behaviors. In both roles, Julie works with UVM students to design and implement their own sustainability behavior-change campaigns. Prior to starting at UVM, Julie spent most of her career at international consumer products companies, working in various management capacities in brand marketing, strategic planning, and corporate finance. Most recently, Julie managed global innovation and new product development at Ben & Jerry’s in Burlington Vermont.

Katharan M Blofson

Clean Energy Fund Education & Outreach Graduate Assistant

Kate is a Master's student in the Rubenstein School for Environment and Natural Resources at The University of Vermont and an Education and Outreach Fellow with UVM's Office of Sustainability and Clean Energy Fund.  She has a BA in English from Yale University, and has worked a variety of jobs from teaching in the Philadelphia schools to sailing the Eastern seaboard.  For the past few years, she has worked with the Prometheus Radio Project to build and advocate for low power community radio stations.  She is captivated by bees, wooden boats, and participatory community media, among other interests.  

Lisa Watts Natkin

Clean Energy Fund Education & Outreach Graduate Assistant

Download Work Plan [PDF]

Lisa Watts Natkin is working towards an Ph.D. in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies with a research focus on sustainability leadership and program evaluation.  She is one of the Clean Energy Fund’s Education & Outreach Fellow.  She earned a B.A. in Environmental Studies and Psychology from The University of Vermont and a M.S. in Environmental Education from Antioch New England University.  After college, she worked as a field instructor for the Appalachian Mountain Club, as a naturalist for the National Forest Service and as a ski instructor for several ski resorts.  During her masters, she taught the “Introduction to Environmental Studies” undergraduate course at Keene State College and conducted evaluation research at the Brookfield Zoo in Chicago, IL.  Upon completion of her masters, Lisa was offered the Youth Program Coordinator position at the Teton Science Schools, where she managed residential environmental education programs.  She was promoted to the Adult, Family and Community Event Program Coordinator, organizing conferences and events, in addition to coordinating educational programs.  Most recently, Lisa was the Co-Education Director at the Children’s Learning Center in Jackson, WY; running nine classrooms in two early education centers.  These experiences ignited her passion for sustainability education and leadership.   She is interested in integrating sustainability principles into curriculum and evaluating its effectiveness.  Lisa lives in Hinesburg, VT with her husband Jon and dog Mango. 

Mairi-Jane Fox

Performance Tracking Graduate Assistant

Matthew Lipke '15

Media Intern

Matt is currently a junior in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at UVM. He is studying Environmental Sciences with a concentration in Water Resources. In his hometown of Syracuse, New York, Matt currently owns a small independent film production company, Lipke Productions he started a few years back with a group of friends from high school. So far Matt has produced two feature-length narrative horror films in the Syracuse area, both of which had theatrical premieres. Currently, using his filmmaking skills and environmental science knowledge, Matt is doing video editing and documentary work for the Office of Sustainability, including a documentary film about the Clean Energy Greenhouse. In the future, Matt hopes to combine his interests in the environment and his passion for filmmaking to become an independent filmmaker, creating both informative documentaries and powerful narrative films.

Patrick Mathon '16

Communications & Outreach Intern


Patrick is a sophomore in the School of Business Administration.  He is studying Sustainable Business and Marketing.  Patrick is responsible for promoting the Clean Energy Fund around campus.  Currently, he is gathering information to support the implementation of a campus sustainability map. 

Pooja Kanwar

Performance Tracking Graduate Assistant

Download Work Plan [PDF]

Tracking UVM's sustainability progress includes completing an annual greenhouse gas inventory, piloting the AASHE STARS system for tracking activiites, coordinating the Campus Sustainability course, and working with students on various Service-learning and senior capstone projects related to sustainability.

Pooja Kanwar is a Ph.D. candidate in the Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources at The University of Vermont, the Performance Tracking Fellow with UVM's Office of Sustainability, and a Gund Instititute of Ecological Economics Graduate Student Fellow.  She holds a B.S. in Geography and Environmental Studies from the University of Iowa and an M.S. Resource Management and Administration from Antioch University New England.  Pooja's research focuses on international water resources management, with her BS and MS work examining  rainwater harvesting and rural water supply issues in India and her current doctoral research investigating a multijurisdictional harbour in New Zealand through ecological risk, governance complexities and  policy values.  Prior to studying at UVM she was living in Western Massachusetts working at the University of Massachusetts with the Water Resources Research Center in Amherst, MA,  coordinating various volunteer water quality monitoring projects throughout the state. 

Sophia Hoffacker '16

Sustainability Outreach Intern

Sophia is a sophomore in the College of Arts and Science majoring in Environmental Studies and double minoring in Political Science and Gender, Sexuality, & Women's Studies. Sophia was born in Port Huron, Michigan, and raised in Washington, DC. At UVM, Sophia is a member of the Dewey House for Community Engagement. She works with the Sierra Student Coalition (SSC), where she currently serves on the Executive Committee as Communications Coordinator. She has 3 years of experience with the SSC's summer environmental leadership program, SPROG, as a participant, trainer, and now, co-director of the 2014 New England program! Sophia took a gap year between high school and college, during which she worked as a sustainability intern at Long Branch Environmental Education Center in western North Carolina, and volunteered at a Women's Empowerment Centre in New Delhi, India. 

Tarah Rowse

Curriculum & Community Connections Graduate Assistant

Download Work Plan [PDF]

Tarah Rowse is a Ph.D. student in the Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources at The University of Vermont and a Curriculum & Community Connections Graduate Assistant with UVM's Office of Sustainability. Tarah's primary responsibilities are supporting the Sustainability Faculty Fellows program, coordinating the Vermont Campus Sustainability Network, and co-instructing the Campus Sustainability service-learning course each spring. Her Ph.D. research examines the role that local energy actors and municipalities play in a sustainable energy transition in Vermont. She holds a B.S. in Natural Resource Management from Cornell University and an M.S. in Public Policy and Management from Carnegie Mellon University.  Prior to studying at UVM she was living in Washington, D.C., working on energy policy at The Nature Conservancy, with a focus on renewable energy development and energy development mitigation. Additionally, Tarah has worked with the Department of Homeland Security in the area of risk development, acted as a political campaign manager for a state Senate race in New York, and completed two years of Peace Corps Service in Belize as an environmental educator.