UVA’s Environmental Institute Announces the 2023 Summer Intern Cohort

Allison Carter
students working in the field at Monticello

The Institute announces over twenty UVA students awarded summer internships in environmental, climate change, and sustainability work for 2023.

UVA’s Environmental Institute has awarded 23 ten-week paid summer internships for UVA students to work alongside practitioners. This year, through valuable partnerships with the University Career Center, the Darden School of Business, and the Jefferson Trust, UVA’s Environmental Institute increased the capacity of this popular internship program.

There are 15 traditional-style internships available to UVA students this summer. Placement organizations included ClimateWorks, the Department of Energy, The Nature Conservancy, and the Virginia Department of Transportation. Twelve different organizations agreed to host internships sure to provide a valuable and unique experience to students.

New this summer, the Institute is partnering with the Darden School of Business and Jefferson Trust to create six brand new “Decarbonization Internships.” Building on ideas generated during the 2022 Jefferson Innovation Summit, selected UVA students will spend time this summer working with organizations on strategies and projects to find new ways to reduce or eliminate carbon dioxide emissions from the organization’s footprint or from society more broadly through the adoption of the organization’s product or service.

Finally, UVA’s Environmental Institute is offering another new unique opportunity for summer internships through the creation of the “Decarbonization Corps,” a program supported by a local donor. Projects in the Decarbonization Corps focus on the innovation and entrepreneurship needed to drive systemic change, and undergraduate student interns will spend ten weeks this summer partnering with UVA faculty members and external partners to work on specific translational research projects.

“We are excited about the new and expanded opportunities for students to get real-world experience in how research is connected to action in finding solutions to climate challenges,” said Karen McGlathery, Director of the Environmental Institute. “We have had tremendous interest among students, with university partners, and with community organizations in Virginia and beyond to create a wide range of meaningful experiences for students this summer.”

The University Career Center received over 400 applications for internship positions. Students from a variety of disciplines, including majors in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, the Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy, the School of Commerce and the School of Architecture applied. The results of these summer internships can have broad impacts and opportunities which outlast the ten-week internship, as well.

Cade Roach Headshot
Cade Roach, student intern with OCEARCH

Cade Roach (COL ’24), an EI-funded intern with OCEARCH in 2022, recently traveled to Cancun to present his internship work at a research conference. Roach was assigned to investigate white shark movements in the Gulf of Mexico. After a literature search to determine the seasonality of white shark migrations into and out of the Gulf, important oceanographic features and prey species, fidelity to certain habitats, and the presence of any other large migratory predators in the Gulf. He then began to analyze patterns of seasonality and philopatry from data of tagged white sharks.

“I feel honored to work with such accomplished scientists who are also amazing and supportive people, and I have gained valuable insights from their perspectives,” said Roach. “I am thankful for the opportunity to take such a close look into the work of professionals in the field of marine ecology. My experience with white shark research has been fascinating and enlightening, as I have learned a lot about the discipline and about myself. I am excited to continue advocating for the understanding and protection of this apex predator.”

When Roach presented his internship work at the 2023 Latin America & Caribbean Fisheries Congress of the American Fisheries Society meeting in Cancun, Mexico, the reviews were glowing.

“Cade handled himself very professionally and impressed the group with his knowledge and skills,” wrote Bob Hueter, Chief Scientist at OCEARCH. “I think he was the only undergrad student to present, but he really came off as a Ph.D.-level student. He did UVA, and OCEARCH, proud, and it was really great that [this] program supported his travel to this meeting. It was well worth it.”

The impact of Roach’s internship work continues as he is currently working with OCEARCH to complete a manuscript for peer review in a scientific journal on the subject.

Caroline Parmentier headshot
Caroline Parmentier, student intern at Virginia Institute of Marine Science’s Center for Coastal Resources Management

Caroline Parmentier (COL ‘24), will work with the Virginia Institute of Marine Science’s Center for Coastal Resources Management this summer.

“I am excited for the opportunity ,” said Parmentier, “because I am passionate about protecting our coasts and the people and organisms who live around them and rely on their ecosystems. I am looking forward to working with people who have first-hand experience in understanding how derelict fishing gear affects both their communities and coastal ecosystems, and I am hoping to learn about and gain experience with the data collection and analysis methods for quantifying the scale of this issue.”

When it comes to the new Decarbonization Corps, the projects and research are exciting opportunities for actionable impact on complex topics. For example, student Anna Jett (COL ’24) will be working with Rho Impact and Dr. Matthew Meyer at UVA to look at decarbonizing the healthcare system.

The U.S. Health Care Sector is responsible for 8.5% of US greenhouse gas emissions. Much of those emissions are created by, and for products and services used by, hospitals. However, there is no current estimation of the total carbon footprint of a hospital. Together with Dr. Meyer and Rho Impact, Jett will work to develop strong foundational elements for calculating scope three emissions from a hospital including calculation boundaries, methodologies, and assumptions.

Anna Jett headshot
Anna Jett, student intern in the new Decarbonization Corps

“As the Decarbonization Summer Intern for Rho Impact,” said Jett, “I will be working with their team and UVA Health to develop a foundation for calculating the carbon footprint of a hospital. My work over the summer will include helping to determine the project's boundaries and methodologies.

 I am excited to work on addressing carbon emissions in the health sector with a team dedicated to making a positive environmental impact on the world. I am especially looking forward to the opportunity to learn more about emissions accounting and life cycle assessments, which are crucial to calculating a carbon footprint.”

For more information on all undergraduate student opportunities, visit environment.virginia.edu/explore/student-training-engagement. For information on how to get involved in, apply for, or support student internships in green careers, email environment@virginia.edu.

EI-funded Internships Summer 2023

  • Virginia Institute for Marine Science Center’s Coastal Resources Management
    Caroline Parmentier (Environmental Sciences, French 2024)
  • Chesapeake Bay Foundation
    Maya Mei-Mon Koehn-Wu (Architecture 2024)
  • Rho Impact
    Tess Varela (Cognitive Science 2024)
  • EDF
    Gabrielle Rosario (Foreign Affairs, Global Studies 2023)
  • EDF
    Hannah Crosby (Public Policy and Leadership, MPP)
    Emily Khuong (Environmental Sciences 2024)
  • Nature Conservancy
    Sadie Rogerson (Global Studies, Public Policy and Leadership 2023)
  • Department of Energy
    Isaac Heath (Biomedical Engineering 2024)
  • Green Fin Studio
    Summer DeLellis-Sturgis (Global Studies 2024)
  • Resilient Virginia
    Jane Elizabeth Ruggles (Environmental Sciences 2024)
  • ClimateWorks
    Majlis Walker (Chemistry 2024)
  • ClimateWorks
    Holly Sims (Public Policy and Leadership, 2024)
  • Virginia Dept of Transportation
    Kunyu Li (Mathematics 2024)
  • Albemarle County Climate
    Gabriella Vargas (Public Policy and Leadership, MPP)

New Decarbonization Interns 2023 from Darden and the Environmental Institute

  • City of Charlottesville
    Yulin Wang (Applied Statistics 2024)
  • Titan Cement
    Sydney Carmouche (Environmental Sciences 2024)
  • Nucor
    Matthew Fitchett (Biology 2024)
  • Ecovyst
    Anujbhai Patel (Masters, Chemical Engineering)
  • Rho Impact
    Joseph Liberatore (Engineering 2025)

EI-Funded Decarbonization Corps

  • Rho Impact
    Anna Jett  (Global Studies 2024)
    Working with UVA faculty member Matthew Meyer
  • The Nature Conservancy
    Yirui Gui (Economics, Political and Social Thought, 2023)
    Working with UVA faculty member Mark White
  • American Climate Partners
    Maggie Cox
    Working with UVA faculty member Xi Yang
  • Ash Grove Cement
    Anusha Jain (Engineering 2025)
    Working with UVA faculty member Andres Clarens