Seven Swarthmore students have been newly selected for the President’s Sustainability Research Fellowship (PSRF), a high-impact learning experience where students take stewardship over vital sustainability challenges at the College. The program matches motivated students with small teams of staff and faculty mentors to research, develop, and implement projects in a year-long course and associated internship.
The program is jointly run by the President’s Office, the Office of Sustainability, the Environmental Studies Program, and the Lang Center for Civic and Social Responsibility, and has led or contributed to many of the College’s sustainability efforts, including the Energy Plan: Roadmap to Zero Carbon, restoring the Crum Woods, infusing sustainability into the curriculum, and much more. Additionally, six fellows will be returning to continue projects or begin new ones with partners from across campus.
The incoming 2022-2023 President’s Sustainability Research Fellowship cohort includes:
Catherine Atalig ‘23 grew up in Saipan, a U.S. territory in the Pacific, which created an interest in environmental studies from a young age. Her studies focus on Indigenous environmental activism and the importance of food justice within communities.
Atalig’s project topic "Hawaii Relationships" will be mentored by Elizabeth Drake and Oswaldo Morales Solorzano ‘21 in the Office of Sustainability. The project will build on connections to community partners that have been established in Hawaii over several years of programming, reciprocal partnership, and student internships.
“I am looking forward to connecting my academic environmental studies with more Pacific Islander-based issues since this is not offered in the classroom. Specifically, I look forward to strengthening Swarthmore’s relationships with community partners in Hawaii and helping shape the future of these relationships.”
Gary Chen '25 is passionate about delicious food, the food industry, and the broader food system in general. His passion for the food system and his experience in management consulting inspire him to build a more sustainable food system.
Chen’s project topic "Food Systems and Dining" will be mentored by Associate Director of Sustainability Clare Hyre. The project will help advance the mission of the Food Systems Working Group by seeking to improve food procurement tracking on campus.
"I'm looking forward to developing a system to track food purchasing at Swarthmore, which will support decision making in line with our vision of sustainability."
Anna Considine ‘23 grew up on Vancouver Island on the west coast of Canada. Surrounded by beautiful scenery, she developed a deep appreciation for the natural world around her and began working for various environmental organizations. Currently, she works with Chester Residents Concerned for Quality Living (CRCQL) to help shut down the incinerator in Chester. This transformative experience has led her to become passionately involved in combating environmental injustice.
Considine will be working with PSRF Darid Prom ‘24 on an environmental justice project mentored by Professor of Environmental Studies Giovanna Di Chiro and Morales Solorzano. The project will advance the mission of the newly-formed Environmental Justice & Climate Resilience Program hosted by the Lang Center for Civic and Social Responsibility.
“I am looking forward to having the opportunity to develop deep relationships with the communities surrounding Swarthmore College. As an elite institution, it is Swarthmore's responsibility to use our privilege to combat injustices and I hope to devote my energies to doing exactly this.”
Ryan Jin ‘24 is a rising junior studying mathematics and economics. He hopes to use his experiences from being a Green Advisor last year and an economics research assistant last summer to succeed as a PSRF.
Jin’s project topic "Electrification of Transportation" will be mentored by Drake and Director of Sustainable Maintenance Jim Adams. The project will conduct market research to support and plan for increasing electric vehicle use at the College.
“Ultimately, I hope that my project can better facilitate the adoption of EV technologies for faculty, staff, students, and all other groups associated with Swarthmore College, decreasing national demand for gas and contributing to a cleaner campus.”
Daniela Kim ‘23 was first introduced to sustainability action when her mom created a small compost field in their backyard and has instilled other practices of zero waste into their family lifestyle. At Swarthmore, Kim worked with the GA program as a GA coordinator, where she acted as a liaison for GAs and worked on a GA/G3 Compost Challenge to change student waste-management behavior.
Her project "Crum Woods Engagement" will be mentored by Assistant Professor of Biology Carolyn Bauer. The project seeks to provide more community engagement opportunities in the woods, especially by creating environmental education programming for children in the surrounding communities.
“I am excited to work with the Crum Woods committee to come up with lesson plans and share the knowledge and beauty of Crum. Through this education initiative, I hope people become more knowledgeable and dedicated to protecting and preserving this environment, which is unique to Swarthmore.”
With academic and research interest in health, intersectional structural violence, environmental justice, and community building, Darid Prom '24 has conducted research surrounding environmental inequalities as a factor in health disparities. Additionally, throughout the years, Prom has collaborated with influencers highlighting the intersectional voices of queer people of color, testified in front of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform on the impact of bills and legislation, and advised multiple national campaigns and conferences. In 2021, Pom was named to Teen Vogue's 20 under 20 list, honoring young LGBTQ people who are accelerating acceptance.
Prom will be working with Considine on an Environmental Justice project mentored by Di Chiro and Morales Solorzano. The project will advance the mission of the newly-formed Environmental Justice & Climate Resilience Program hosted by the Lang Center for Civic and Social Responsibility.
“As a PSRF Fellow, I envision using resources to help positively impact the environment: to practice, promote and contribute to sustainability to combat existing health threats and public health challenges while also providing health benefits to the local community.”
Viktoriia Zakharova ‘24 grew up in Ukraine, where she organized climate rallies and supported activist efforts to reduce her hometown's emissions. At Swarthmore, she's a computer science teaching assistant and a member of multiple sustainability-driven clubs on campus.
Zakharova’s project topic "Electronic Waste" will be mentored by Director of Procurement Chris Kane. The project will advance efforts to improve Swarthmore’s electronic waste streams and management.
“I'm looking forward to deepening my understanding of the internal mechanisms of Swarthmore as an institution. I'm excited about combining project management and social engagement with hard skills such as data analysis to present research that would contribute to Swarthmore's sustainability efforts.”
Additionally, six previous PSRFs will be returning for the 2022-23 year to continue their work or take on new projects to advance sustainability around campus:
Alice Du ‘24
Project Topic: Embodied Carbon
Mentor: Roderick Wolfson
Du will work with Project Manager and Planner Roderick Wolfson to investigate how to address and reduce embodied carbon emissions in campus capital projects.
Olivia Fey ‘23
Project Topic: Roadmap to Zero Carbon Student Engagement
Mentor: Office of Sustainability staff
Fey will work with Office of Sustainability staff to support student and campus-wide engagement efforts around the Roadmap to Zero Carbon plan. This work will continue the efforts of 2021-22 PSRF Aaron Urquidez ‘22.
Jorge Lopez-Nava ‘23
Project Topic: STARS
Mentors: Elizabeth Drake, Alex Flowers ‘21
Lopez-Nava will work with Office of Sustainability staff to complete Swarthmore’s 2023 STARS report. STARS is a valuable tool for assessment and benchmarking with peer institutions on our sustainability efforts.
Sophia Schlenz ‘23
Project Topic: Sustainable Food Production
Mentor: Clare Hyre
Sophia will work with Hyre to advance recommendations for sustainable food production at Swarthmore that Sophia developed during her 2021-22 PSRF year.
Olivia Stoetzer ‘23
Project Topic: Carbon Emissions Tracking and Offsetting
Mentor: Elizabeth Drake
Stoetzer will be returning to work with Drake to support the efforts of the Carbon Charge Working Group and support Swarthmore in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. This will include work around carbon offsets and air travel emissions that she has completed during her previous two years with the program.
Maya Tipton ‘23
Project Topic: Sustainable Food Production
Mentor: Clare Hyre
Tipton will work with Hyre to advance recommendations for sustainable food production developed by 2021-22 PSRF Schlenz.