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.
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Gioia Thompson, M.S. Natural Resources Planning
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
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.
Anastassia Medvedeva '16
Sustainability Communications Intern
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.
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
Charlie is currently a Junior 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 a member 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 Media Intern
Colin is currently a Freshman 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.
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. As a senior majoring in Economics and Environmental Studies, he plays for the UVM golf team and is an active member of the Outing Club. Gaining certifications in avalanche safety and as a wilderness first responder, he leads 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, acting as a teaching assistant for the Economics Department, and helping to promote Socially Responsible Investing (SRI) on campus. Frederick aspires to combine his fields of study to focus on the advancement of renewable energy, and hopes to see continued growth in this industry.
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.
Clean Energy Fund Graduate Assistant
Lisa Watts Natkin
Curriculum & Community Connections Graduate Assistant
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.
Matthew Lipke '15
Matt is currently a senior in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at UVM. He is studying Environmental Sciences with a concentration in Water Resources as well as Film Studies. In his hometown of Syracuse, New York, Matt owns an 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. For his senior capstone project, Matt is currently directing an original environmentally themed science fiction action film around Vermont. At the Office of Sustainability, Matt is using his filmmaking skills and environmental science knowledge to do video editing and documentary work, including a documentary films about the Clean Energy Greenhouse and the PV installation on campus. 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, LEED Green Associate
Clean Energy Fund Outreach Intern
Patrick is currently a junior in the School of Business Administration concentrating in Finance and Sustainable Business. Originally from Southborough, MA, Patrick spent his summer working for Dunkin' Brands as a Corporate Social Responsibility Intern, where he primarily focused on developing the company's 2014 CSR Report. In his current role, Patrick is responsible for the outreach efforts for the Clean Energy Fund, including tabling, class presentations, and social media. Additionally, he is creating a promotional video on the Clean Energy Fund, which will outline the projects and accomplishments to date.
Roisin Low '16
Clean Energy Fund Outreach Intern
Roisin is a junior 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. Currently she is working 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.
Sophia Hoffacker '17
Sustainability Outreach Intern
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 350.org'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.