University of Vermont


You are here


Our staff includes two full-time employees, five graduate assistants, and a group of student interns. Learn more about them and their work for the office in the biographies below. 

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

Former 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

Aaron Witham

Education & Outreach Coordinator

Aaron holds an M.S. in Natural Resources from the University of Vermont and a Graduate Certificate in Ecological Economics from the Gund Institute at U.V.M. As a Transportation Research Scholar at U.V.M.’s Transportation Research Center and a Gund Student Fellow, Aaron focused his research on alternative economic approaches, sustainable transportation, energy issues, and climate change. He also holds a B.F.A. in Creative Writing from the University of Maine at Farmington and studied environmental science for two years at Unity College. His career experience includes serving as the Director of Sustainability at Green Mountain College, Managing Director of the Center for Environmental Education in Maine and the Interim Sustainability Coordinator of Unity College.

Aaron’s environmental ethic grew out of his family’s dependence on the land in rural New Hampshire through hunting, fishing, gardening and foraging for food, while harvesting local wood for heat. Later in childhood, he lived in suburban Cape Cod where he saw the effects of sprawl first-hand and a different land ethic. He is very interested in how certain economic policies feed cultures of over-consumption and sprawl, often at the cost of not only environmental health, but human happiness. He enjoys coordinating campus sustainability efforts in order to teach alternative cultures and practice ideas for alternative sustainable systems in the microcosm of a college setting.

Aaron's LinkedIn Profile

Anastassia Medvedeva '16

Sustainability Communications Intern

Download Work Plan [PDF]

Ana is a junior in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. She is studying Public Communications with a minor in Nutrition. Originally from Maryland, just outside of Washington, DC, Ana spent her summer interning for the Metro DC Chapter of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, where she designed content for the monthly newsletter. She is a member of the Dewey House for Civic Engagement and currently works at Chatty Cats, where she reaches out to alumni and parents to raise funds that make it possible for students to continue attending UVM. In addition, Ana volunteers at the Humane Society; starting out at the Montgomery County Humane Society, she is transitioning to the Humane Society in Chittenden, VT for the academic year. Currently, Ana is focusing on creating a mini-series of videos and infographic brochures based on the Green Living Guide.

Charles Martin '16

Sustainability Intern

Download Work Plan [PDF]

Charlie is currently a Senior in the College of Arts and Sciences. He is majoring in Environmental Studies with a concentration in Sustainability Studies and a minor in Psychology. Currently, Charlie is developing a video on UVM's Gold ranking by AASHE STARS and sustainability efforts at all levels of functioning of the University. He is also working on creating an interactive sustainability map that will give a clear visual layout of all of UVM's sustainability initiatives. Apart from his studies and time at the Office of Sustainability, Charlie is also a student intern at the UVM Foundation as well as President of the UVM Hit Paws A Capella group. He was born in Albany, NY and raised in Delmar, NY before moving to Vermont.

Colin Rugg '18

Sustainability Videography Intern

Download Work Plan [PDF]

Colin is currently a sophomore in the College of Arts and Sciences and is studying Social Sciences. He was born in Billerica, Massachussetts, and attended Billerica Memorial High School before coming to UVM. Here, he is involved with the Vermont Cynic, and is enrolled in ISSP, the Integrated Social Sciences Program. Colin loves the outdoors, music, art and film, and is an Eagle Scout. Aong with this, he has made several short films and documentaries, one of which has won second place at Salem Student Film festival, which accepted applications from all over Massachussetts.

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.

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. 


Lindsay Barbieri

Clean Energy Fund Graduate Assistant

Lisa Watts Natkin

Curriculum & Community Connections 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 the curiculum and community connections graduate assistant.  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. 

Patrick Mathon '16, LEED Green Associate

Sustainability Intern

Download Work Plan [PDF]

Patrick is currently a senior in the Grossman School of Business concentrating in Finance and Sustainable Business.  Originally from Southborough, MA, Patrick spent his summer working for General Electric Power as a Financial Management Program Intern. In Fall 2015, Patrick worked as an Internal Audit Intern for Keurig Green Mountain, and during Summer 2014, he worked at Dunkin' Brands as a Corporate Social Responsibility Intern.

Patrick has worked for the Office of Sustainability since Fall 2013. He has done outreach for the Clean Energy Fund- tabling, presenting in classes, blogging, developing the concept for an overview video, and conducting a financial analysis of a CEF photovoltaic installation. Currently, Patrick serves as a Sustainability Intern, assisting the Office with the implementation of STARS 2.1.

Patrick's LinkedIn Profile

Roisin Low '16

Sustainability Intern

Download Work Plan [PDF]

Roisin is a Senior Environmental Studies major in the College of Arts and Sciences, double minoring in Biology and Global Studies. Originally from Australia, Roisin spent this past summer as a research assistant for Operation Wallacea in Sulawesi, Indonesia working as part of the herpetology and marine team. For the past year Roisin has been a part of one of UVM's newspapers The Cynic as a photojournalist. She has worked as a research intern for Food Tank, an organization that highlights environmentally and socially sustainable ways of alleviating hunger, obesity and poverty through their website, research, and publications. During Summer 2015, she was a Research intern for the Nature Conservancy, focusing on urban ecology and integrating her internship experience into a capstone experience at UVM.

Roisin has worked for the Office of Sustainability since Spring 2015, doing outreach for the CEF and organizing field trips for the CEF sponsored Energy Action Seminar in Fall 2015 as well as gathering information for the CEF review. She currently is serving as a Sustainability intern in the Office, working on communication pieces on UVM's sustainability commitments and co-organizing a student summit for Spring 2016.

Roisin's LinkedIn profile

Sophia Hoffacker '17

Sustainability Outreach Intern

Download Work Plan [PDF]

Sophia is a junior double majoring in Environmental Studies and Political Science. She is from Washington, DC. Sophia has 3 years of experience organizing  the Sierra Student Coalition 's summer environmental leadership program, SPROG, as a trainer and co-director. She recently completed's Fossil Free Fellowship, which placed her with the Keep VT Tar Sands Free campaign with 350 Vermont this past summer. At UVM, Sophia is a member of the Dewey House for Community Engagement and a leader in Student Climate Culture, the group working to divest UVM's endowment from fossil fuels. In 2015, Sophia was one of 50 students who received the prestigous Udall Scholarship