E3P Undergraduate Awards for the 2019-20 academic year
Each year, we make a number of awards to senior E3P students in recognition of significant accomplishments. Those for the 2019-2020 academic year are:
Emerging Scholar Award
Midway through her Junior year, Emi shifted her focus to conservation research and, in the short time she had left at UNC, seized every opportunity to gain practical experience. This included helping the Florida Department of Environmental Protection with their coastal monitoring work, conducting forestry research with drones that she helped fund with a grant proposal, and designing a long-term study to examine different management practices for restoring white oaks on reclaimed coal mines. Emi’s mentors were truly impressed by her ability to excel in a research environment, persistently bringing to projects not only productive effort but also insight seldom seen so early in a career.
Award for All Around Outstanding Student
During her four year at UNC Olivia did much to improve campus sustainability. Olivia is an environmental leader who supports the implementation of sustainable practices in the daily lives of students and employees. She worked to implement the University’s Three Zeros Environmental Initiative to achieve water neutrality, climate neutrality, and zero waste. As co-chair of the Renewable Energy Special Projects Committee (RESPC), a body in student government that funds renewable energy projects on campus, she worked with a team to create an award-winning freezer rebate program for the University. They interviewed faculty researchers to understand their needs and then collaborated with staff to identify energy-efficient freezers and procure discounts to incentivize laboratory researchers to purchase the most energy-efficient freezers available. Olivia’s work with RESPC also enabled the group to contribute $380,000 to Chapel Hill Transit to they can begin to pilot, with three buses, their move toward an all-electric transportation fleet. This past year, along with her co-chair Zack Walker, she won the first Strata Innovation Award ($10,000 prize) for their proposal to develop a carbon offset venture. Olivia is also an author and online content editor for the Angles Carolina Planning Journal blog. Since graduation, Olivia has been working as an Investment analysist with New York Green Bank, where she helps direct funding to cleantech companies.
Award for Excellence in Natural Science Research
Felix earned the award for Excellence in Natural Science Research by conducting valuable research on three separate topics. As part of the E3P Thailand Field Site she helped evaluate the electrical grid consumption and environmental impact of four different energy storage systems. This research was chosen for publication in a peer-reviewed scientific journal. For her senior honors thesis work, Felix studied how different environmental conditions affect the formation of harmful algal blooms of cyanobacteria in the Chowan River (completing the field work despite a semester shortened by several mandatory hurricane evacuations). If that weren’t enough, Felix also helped conduct research that examined whether drones could be used to remotely monitor structural attributes of urban forests. All of this signals her great potential for a successful career as an environmental scientist.
Award for Excellence in Social Science Research
This award recognizes Kate for the research she conducted as part of the Environmental Studies Capstone program. Her research culminated in the production of a comprehensive set of environmental performance metrics, an environmental marketing strategy, and a social media guide for a mid-sized, independently owned company based in rural, western North Carolina – an impressive array of outcomes! While achieving a 3.96 GPA, Kate also shared her research and writing talents with environmental NGOs, including DC-based Defenders of Wildlife and Trees Durham. Kate’s presence uplifts every room where she is present with her talent for asking thought-provoking questions in a way that fosters openness and builds a spirit of inclusivity. We are delighted that Kate has chosen to continue her studies at UNC through our joint-degree program with the Hussman School of Journalism and Media. We expect that she will help catalyze change with her powerful blend of scholarly and communication skills.
James (“J”) Bottomley
J performed exceptional research with the UNC Energy Services group. Among his many projects, he authored a comprehensive report on the possibilities of carbon offset purchasing strategies and a rooftop solar feasibility study. J’s ability to learn quickly and to see other ways to apply rigorous analytical methods enabled him also to contribute high quality research to numerous ad hoc projects supporting UNC greenhouse gas reduction efforts. Throughout his undergraduate career at UNC, J brought an impossible-to-overlook enthusiasm to classrooms and the campus. In courses such as Sustainable Enterprise and Social Entrepreneurship, J’s well thought-out and detailed commentary would captivate the attention of his peers. In the Pit and during sustainability-related events, J persistently promoted advancement of UNC’s sustainability goals. As a student representative for the Three Zeros Initiative and a member of the Impact Investing Club, J educated and inspired others to heed the science and take data-supported action to address climate change. J’s contagious energy will be missed in Chapel Hill. However, we are confident that he will bring his intellect and contagious passion to making significant future contributions that will help move us towards a more sustainable world.