PGC 2012 Finalists

Ruthie Burrows: Johns Hopkins University

Ruthie is a junior at Johns Hopkins University double majoring in Public Health Studies and Global Environmental Change & Sustainability. She was born and raised in Columbus, Ohio. Her interest in the environment first began when her grandfather turned the TV to The Weather Channel. She soon became fascinated with the climate and even reported the daily weather conditions from her home weather station to a local news station in high school. She was an International Baccalaureate Diploma recipient in high school, which helped her realize the interconnectedness of the world. Once at JHU, she was introduced to the field of Public Health. She became passionate about the deep environmental health disparities that exist in the world. Ruthie was inspired to participate in PGC to learn more about herself, apply what she learns in the classroom to her daily life, and become an advocate for the environment. She is also the president of her sorority, Delta Xi Phi Multicultural Sorority Inc., president of the Multicultural Greek Council, and a member of Real Food Hopkins. In her spare time she enjoys photography, being with family, and playing with her two dogs.

Kilee Forbes: University of California Santa Cruz

Kilee is currently a Junior at University of California, Santa Cruz. She transferred in the fall from College of the Siskiyous where she lived in a tiny mountain town called Mount Shasta. On campus, she is majoring in environmental studies and biology with an emphasis on restoration ecology; when she is home she studies organic gardening and ranching, with an emphasis on family, and embracing the beautiful world around her. She has been an avid traveler and nature-goer who is intent on seeing as much of what the world has to offer with as little of an impact as possible. She prefers a warm sleeping bag and the sound of crickets to hotels and highways, and plans to one day backpack around New Zealand while documenting her travels in photography, hoping to inspire adventure and environmental awareness in the people around her.

Kristen Giesting: Otterbein University

Kristen is from Batesville Indiana, a rural farming community.  She loves animals and has three horses, a dog, cat, goat, and flock of chickens.  In high school, she spent 6 weeks studying abroad in Germany in a language immersion program. This is her senior year at Otterbein University where she is studying Environmental Science and Biology.  She leads the student environmental club on campus and works in a microbiology research lab.  Her project focuses on the synthetic antimicrobial, triclosan, which is common in hand soaps.   The goal of the study is to determine if triclosan creates a selective pressure for resistant bacteria in the aquatic environment.  She has had the opportunity to present her research poster at the American Society for Microbiology General Meeting as well as the international EcoSummit.  When not working in the lab, she enjoys spending her time working in the garden and learning about sustainable agriculture.  This past summer, she spent some of her time working on a small organic farm. In the future, she hopes to work in sustainable agriculture or become a research scientist. She loves learning about the environment and is extremely excited to attend Green University!

Tavneet Gill: Antelope High School

Tavneet is a senior at Antelope High School and interested in majoring in biological or environmental sciences. She is currently in the People of the Planet Club at her school and working on creating a more sustainable school campus by instituting practices such as reusable water bottles and composting. Her main goal as a leader and PGC finalist is to spread the word to her peers and inform them about living a life that is environmentally- friendly. Tavneet is dedicated to learning more about living a more sustainable lifestyle, and affecting the people around her to do so as well. She enjoys reading, writing, and web design.

Anna Hankins: Wachusett Regional High School

Anna Hankins is senior at Wachusett Regional High School in Holden, Massachusetts. She was born in Concord, California and then moved to Massachusetts in 2001. She has always had an immense love for the outdoors and coincidentally was born on Earth Day! Her interest in environmental issues began my sophomore year of high school when she received an Earthwatch fellowship. Since then she have taken a National Science Foundation sponsored college course, participated in a Sustainability Internship, and been part in her school’s club “Think Globally, Act Locally.” She loves being outside hiking, kayaking, running, rock climbing, and horseback riding, having been an avid equestrian since age 12. Her ultimate goal is to become an agricultural hydrologist, allowing her to study the relationship between agricultural pollution, water supply and aquifer depletion. She would like to be an activist for food system reforms and clothing industry reforms. She enjoys reading Kurt Vonnegut and listening to classic rock. Project Green Challenge has furthered her environmental education and allowed her to make changes in her own life and inspire others to do the same.

Grayson Kent: Lawton Chiles High School

Grayson Kent is a junior at Lawton Chiles High School in Tallahassee, Florida. His major interest areas include Environmental Studies, English, and Graphic Design. His favorite activities include bicycling, reading, and speaking in a dramatic voice. Throughout the Project Green Challenge he has changed his life drastically. He is now vegan, rides his bike to school, and lives his life as sustainably as possible. Working with his school he has petitioned for Meatless Mondays, a change of water vendors, and the establishment of a community garden. After high school he hopes to join the GMO labeling movement and travel the world.,/span>

Jack Lennon: Kansas Wesleyan University

Jack has  lived in Salina, Kansas for most of my life, and graduated from Salina High School Central. He is now a senior at Kansas Wesleyan University studying Psychology and Biology. Currently he is applying to medical schools for neuropsychiatry, and am also considering graduate school for cognitive neuroscience. He loves reading, writing, playing soccer, and working with the less-fortunate. Being both intrigued by and disappointed in the misery present in the world, he is compeled to work with others in any way possible. He is always involved on campus as well as off, ranging from psychiatric and psychological internships to volunteering with Big Brothers Big Sisters and being a personal assistant to a child with cerebral palsy. He has been thrilled with the opportunity to learn more about environmental issues, of which he was relatively unfamiliar before Project Green Challenge. He has enjoyed each and every step, and strongly believes that his background in psychology will prove advantageous as he continues to pursue this new interest and recruit others to do the same.

Richard Makiuchi: The Ohio State University

Richard’s passion for nature and people started in Tiger Cub Scouts where he became senior patrol leader of a 60 member troop and an Eagle Scout. He continued his journey of service through high school as president of Rotary International’s youth affiliate, Interact Club. Richard is now at The Ohio State University leading a community of student leaders with Net Impact: The Ohio State University as chapter president. He is focused on connecting interdisciplinary talents of Ohio State students and faculty to make high-impact, collaborative change. Looking forward, he hopes to inspire positive change on all fronts of sustainability especially using his Corporate Finance major to make a business case for sustainability.

Annie May: Anglo American School of Moscow

Annie has lived in Russia for the past 8 years and she is a junior at the Anglo American School of Moscow (AAS).  Her entire life has been an exploration of different cultures and societies having been born in Helsinki, Finland, attending pre-school in Almaty, Kazakhstan and Lausanne, Switzerland and finishing her elementary studies in Tokyo, Japan. These diverse experiences have had a major impact on the shaping of her views about extremely different approaches to community development, environmental protection and urbanization in developed and developing countries. Her experiences at AAS while living through the dynamic transformation of Russian society, have been a driving force behind her commitment to the promotion of a green planet.  She is deeply involved in a variety of extra curricular clubs at school and has won several European regional speech and debate competitions emphasizing “green” topics.  She is a weekly volunteer at orphanages and abandoned dog shelters and is highly committed to the AAS Environmental club, where she is a co-president. Her passion for the environment is considered inspirational as she constantly seeks to find new and innovative ways to contribute to making our planet more green and sustainable.

Alison Neubauer: University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point

Alison was the main representative of Team Awesome Sauce and is a second semester junior at the University of Wisconsin Stevens Point. She is a geography major with an emphasis in environmental sciences, and is minoring in anthropology, philosophy, and environmental studies. She found out about Project Green Challenge thanks to a blog post back in September, and decided to give it a chance. Throughout the month of October she was absolutely blown away by how much she learned and how much fun she had! Sustainability is a huge part of her life and always has been, which is why it’s such a major focus in her schoolwork. The projects put on by Teens Turning Green brought her beliefs to life and gave her the opportunity to explore something that was already so significant to me. She is delighted to have been part of the projects, and think’s everyone should take advantage of this wonderful opportunity!

Eliza Sheffield: University of Alabama

Eliza Sheffield is from the glorious town of High Point, NC. Her home away from home is Tuscaloosa, AL, where she is proud to be a student at the University of Alabama. She enjoys running in the sunshine, cheering for the Crimson Tide, and hanging hammocks by the Black Warrior River with friends. She’s a recovering “environmental cynic.” That is to say: she used to think her part didn’t matter much. When it clicked in Eliza’s brain that her eco-impact DOES make a dent on the earth, she knew she had to change. And so she has! Eliza’s on an exciting journey toward greener living and wants to inspire others as well. If there is one phrase that sums up her experience, it’s this: “Live intentionally!”

Natalie Stevenson: University of Delaware

Natalie was born, raised, and attend university in Newark, DE. Her mother nurtured her early interest in protecting the environment, but it was in high school at the Charter School of Wilmington that she learned how to channel my passion through the environmental club, helping to design our brand new recycling program. By the time she was senior she served as president, and had expanded participation in the recycling effort as well as increased the frequency of pick-ups. Through this work she received a Jefferson Award and President’s Volunteer Service Award as well as a Governor’s Youth Volunteer Service Award. She was also fortunate that year to be chosen as one of two Delaware state representatives at the National Youth Science Camp held annually in West Virginia. These interests led her to major in Biology and Environmental Science with a concentration in Atmospheric Sciences in the Honor’s program at the University of Delaware. she currently serves as president of both the Horticulture Club and the Student Chapter of the American Meteorological Society.

Sarah Vorreiter: University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana

Sarah Vorreiter is a junior at the University of Illinois, majoring in history and secondary education, with a Spanish minor. She currently works as a resident advisor on a floor with the brand new Sustainability Living Learning Community, and has the opportunity to create environmental programming for 62 residents as well as studying abroad in Granada, Spain this past summer. The environment has always been something she has been extremely curious and passionate about, especially anything related to sustainable and healthy food, environmental education, environmental justice, and examining our consumption and waste patterns. Some of her other interests include spending time outside, dancing, cooking, baking, making videos, taking pictures, learning and spending time with the people I love. In the future, she hopes to be a middle school social studies or Spanish teacher, and later go into school administration. It is her goal to implement positive change across the school community that promotes higher self-esteem for students, an inclusive learning environment, and is closely linked to environmental values.

Alyssa Wolverton: University of North Texas

Hey! If you don’t know me, my name is Alyssa Rachel Wolverton, and I am a Texan girl who doesn’t ride a horse, but loves what my beautiful native prairie has to offer! My journey as an eco-friendly person began with my parents taking me to national parks when I was little (they were too cheap to afford “real” vacations so I thought). After learning about the beautiful outdoors, I blossomed into a ferocious activist to help better everything and everybody in the environment, from my hometown(s) in North Texas to the entire world. I am proud to have developed my career as a young eco-activist by participating in environmental science courses and clubs, serving on Student Conservation Association Crews, being part of the North Texas Eco-Reps on campus, and leading by example in my lifestyle of “eco-consciousness”. I am a Radio, TV, and Film/Political Science major and I hope I can grow up one day and be happy while helping others and our planet. I feel very blessed to be a finalist, and I can’t believe I have made it this far. Dude, NICE!

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