Learn more about EcoCaptain internships! Applications will open for '24/'25 in late spring 2024.
Meet the 2023-2024 EcoCaptain Interns!
Anna Parker - East Campus
My name is Anna, and I am the 2023–2024 EcoCaptain for East Campus. I am a senior, a history major, and a medieval studies minor. I consider my interest in the environment a passion project in my life. It will always affect everything I do and how I see the world. I love having difficult conversations about the nuance and complexities of environmental issues. Like how some changes towards more environmentally friendly energy sources can actually be devastating in other areas. I love learning about the intersection between climate change and social justice, as well as other aspects of human nature like urban areas, human settlement patterns, population studies, and, of course, how the environment interacts with history. Many historians now agree that natural climate change affected many huge events in history, the most notable being the fall of the western Roman Empire. But the issue of the environment and climate change is complex; not all proposed solutions are easily done, and humans have to come together as a collective in order to solve this. That is one of the reasons why being an EcoCaptain is so cool, because I get to be apart of a community that cares about the environment and helps prevent climate change in the small way that I as an individual and UConn as a whole can create.
Adrianna Rossignol - Busby Suites
My name is Adrianna Rossignol. I have always been frustrated by the inaction in conserving and protecting the environment. When I got to college, I realized I could get involved on a larger level and do something about it. But I continue to witness a large lack of care about recycling and reducing our global footprint. I saw that raising awareness about sustainability can help impact people and get more people involved. That is why I am committed to promoting sustainable actions and understanding global change and environmental interactions as an ecology and evolutionary biology major and as an EcoCaptain with the Office of Sustainability. In the next school year, I hope to help fight the effects of climate change through environmental awareness and protect living things from environmental change.
Aracelys Soto Lopez - Hilltop Halls
My name is Aracelys Dannette Soto Lopez. I’m 17 years old and I’m from Isabela Puerto Rico. I’m in ACES Pre-Social Work but my intended major is Elementary Education. In Puerto Rico I was Youth of the Year of the Boys and Girls Club of Isabela. That position was awarded to me thanks to my commitment to with the community. I was a STEM Mentor to kids from ages nine to eleven. I created a project to use the club’s participants to clean Isabela’s beaches twice a month. This year I was part of the National Advocacy STEM Summit in the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Washington, me and other Boys and Girls Clubs youths of the year were the maximum winners. Our project was based on Puerto Rio’s climate change causing drought on the island’s water reservoirs. I have been involved with climate change and what it has been causing in Puerto Rico for a long time. These experiences have made me grow as a person and now my wishes are to become a science teacher and teach kids all about climate change in our world. In the future I want to become a civil rights lawyer and help different communities. I wanted to use my experiences in Puerto Rico and expand them here at UConn. Therefore, now I’m an EcoCaptain and I can help with the Eco maintenance of our university. I’m committed on taking climate action with the Office of Sustainability here at Uconn.
Baasim Zafar - Hilltop Apartments
My name is Baasim Zafar and I am a senior who is studying environmental engineering and civil engineering. However, I realized the importance of promoting environmental outreach and awareness to everyone. This is why I have been helping promote sustainability practices to on campus residents for the past 2 years as an EcoCaptain at the Office of Sustainability. I hope to take the communication and outreach skills that I have learned and apply them to help further my future career as environmental engineer.
Carissa Horton - Charter Oak Apartments
My name is Carissa and I have been interested in the environment since I was very young. I remember wandering the forest, and putting as much knowledge about manatees, salamanders, and cats into my head that my little brain could handle. However, I know that a love for creatures is not enough to help the environment; there are systemic issues that need to be addressed in order for real change to take place. That’s why I’m committed to understanding the political workings of upholding dangerous climate laws and collaborating with my peers to do something about this issue that will be and currently is affecting all of us. Over the next year, I hope to spark change and encourage hope across campus through climate rallies and spreading awareness about the power that each individual holds.
Caroline Peak - Werth Tower
My name is Caroline and I am interested in learning more about fate and transport of chemicals in the environment and how it affects communities. I know that millions of people today still don’t know the types of chemicals that are in their drinking water, so that's why I am committed to pursuing a degree that will allow me to inform and help the communities around me have access to clean drinking water.
Emily Goodman - North Campus
My name is Emily Goodman. I’m always in shock with how rapidly the Earth’s health is declining due to anthropogenic practices and am shocked to see that people are not talking about it. Environmental concerns are human concerns. Pollution, climate change, excessive fossil fuel extraction, etc., are all issues that I believe need to be highlighted frequently. But I know I can’t do that alone, and it takes a team to effectively raise awareness and fight for change. That’s why I am committed to doing my part in the fight against harmful catastrophes in the environment and inspiring others to join me in doing so. While being an EcoCaptain this coming year, I hope to influence change and throw myself into action in an effort to make the world a healthier place.
Grace Shvodian - Garrigus Suites
My name is Grace Shvodian and I am majoring in Environmental Engineering and I have a minor in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. I am from Northern Virginia and I am interested in the restoration of aquatic ecosystems such as the Chesapeake Bay. I am also interested in water quality and ensuring that people have safe drinking water. I have always known about the importance of the environment and also about the negative impacts that humans have caused on the environment. I am excited to work with the Office of Sustainability and learn more about what UConn is doing to inform the student body about environmental issues and also what they can do to help out. I’m looking forward to getting to know everybody!
Hannah Hidalgo - North Campus
Jenna DePonte - Buckley
My name is Jenna DePonte and I am interested in learning more about how to make a positive impact on the environment through everyday means. But I know that, alone, I can not make as much of a difference as if others were also committed to living more sustainably. That’s why I am committed to helping others figure out how to live in a way that preserves the environment as an environmental engineering major and an Intern at the Office of Sustainability. I am excited to find engaging and exciting ways to promote sustainable living and make the knowledge more accessible to a college student.
Maki Karasawa - Northwood Apartments
My name is Maki Karasawa. Prior to high school, I had never really paid much attention to environmental conservation and sustainable development. However, over the past couple of years, as temperatures continued to rise, especially during the summer of '23, the scorching heat wave almost extinguished my desire to go outdoors. This experience has made me acutely aware of the importance of environmental protection and sustainable development. Therefore, I have decided to join EcoCaptain, an organization that provides me with the opportunity to learn more about environmental conservation and sustainable development. Even though I am still in the process of learning, I believe that through my efforts and involvement, I can gain a better understanding of environmental issues and help spread awareness. In the coming year, I plan to actively participate in various environmental initiatives to promote sustainable development goals. I hope that through my dedication, I can inspire more people to join our cause, working together to protect the Earth.
Matthew Tiongko - West Campus
Hi my name is Matthew, I’ll be the Eco-Captain of West Residence Halls this year! Growing up in an outdoorsy family, I grew up with a passion for the environment, and seeing the nature around me. I have always been taught the importance of sustainable practice, but I rarely see it in action. I am excited to work with UConn’s Office of Sustainability to address these issues and turn them around. My goal is to bring the UConn community together while learning how to practice, and promote sustainability on campus! I look forward to putting on some fun events in the residence halls, and getting to meet new people!
Maya Kovachi - Alumni Quad
My name is Maya Kovachi. I am interested in learning about what I can do to live a more sustainable lifestyle and help the environment. But I know that just one person being more sustainable and eco-friendly is not enough to make a change. That’s why I am committed to spreading awareness to other residents in Alumni about what we can do together to make a greater impact! This year I hope to help get people interested in sustainability and learning more about the environment through fun and inclusive residential activities.
Nadine Masayda - Hilltop Apartments
My name is Nadine and I study mechanical engineering to learn how to design and build systems optimized for sustainability. I cannot define sustainability and understand the concerns of consumers and the environment without diversifying my experience at UConn, so I’ve joined the Office of Sustainability as an EcoCaptain Intern. I hope to learn more techniques to be sustainable and how to integrate these practices systematically. I intend to use my degree and knowledge about the environment to have a positive impact as a professional engineer.
Nehemie Christopher - Shippee
Olivia Peterson - Husky Village
Hi, My name is Olivia Peterson and I am the EcoCaptain for Husky Village. I am interested in learning more about how individual efforts can help promote sustainability in my community. However, I know that college campuses are not always the most eco-friendly and produce a lot of waste. That’s why I am committed to encouraging my peers to learn more about the environment and practice sustainable habits. In the coming year I hope to make even the tiniest difference in the people around me.
Ruth Martinez - Northwest
My name is Ruth Martinez, and ever since I was young, I have fallen in love with the planet and the beautiful things that exist within it. As I grew up, my passion only grew, and I looked for ways to become more active in protecting it. However, I learned very quickly that I alone could not change things. They say it takes a village to raise a child, but it also takes a village to care for our planet. That's why I am committed to working with the office of sustainability and engaging our community to teach about sustainability practices. In the coming year, I hope to create fun and safe spaces where we can enjoy a good time together, learn about sustainability, and put it into practice. I hope to ignite passion in others or even peak their interest. My goal is to make sure that someone learns at least one thing, because it might trickle down and make the slightest difference.
Siddharth Sinha - South Campus
My name is Siddharth Sinha and I'm a senior studying computer science and engineering. I have always been passionate about protecting the environment. I'm interested in understanding how businesses and companies can advocate for and implement sustainable practices. That's why I committed to helping the Office of Sustainability promote sustainable practices in our residence halls. My goal is to learn more about sustainability and educate students about sustainable practices. In the future, I hope that I can use my experience at UConn to advocate for better sustainable practices in the corporate world.
Suheera Haq - Hilltop Halls
My name is Suheera Haq. I am a Molecular and Cell Biology major on the pre-medical track. I have always had an interest in health and wellness, but I realized studying medicine alone is not enough to ensure good health. It is just as important to take care of the environment around you, and in return the environment will take care of you. By working towards a clean environment, we work towards better health for yourself and your community. This is why I am committed to take charge this year as an EcoCaptain intern to see how I can create change and promote sustainability in the areas that I live. In the upcoming school year I am excited to start initiatives in my residence halls and educate my floormates on sustainability practices. By taking small steps as a community, we can create large impacts of change for the better!
Thu Do - McMahon
Hello everyone! My name is Thu Do and I am a Sophomore switching my major to Biomedical Engineering. I am a part of the Honors UNIV-facilitating program, a Rowe Scholar, the secretary of the Vietnamese Student Association, and a Sister of the Kappa Phi Lambda sorority! My favorite fall activity has got to be volunteering at Green Game Day! Although this will be my first time volunteering, moments through cleaning up and cheering on the football team will already make a memorable experience for me.
I am interested in learning how to live more sustainably and provide an environment where all communities can thrive. It is difficult to connect multiple neighborhoods together as a single individual. Throughout my childhood, there wasn’t a lot of unity within my town and the adjacent ones regarding our atmosphere conditions. Therefore, my goal is to promote awareness on the climate conditions to foster relationships between communities against unhealthy environments.
Willow Santarsiero - Towers Quad
Hi everyone! My name is Willow and I am so excited to be here at UCONN so I can study to become a veterinarian. Ever since I was little I’ve loved spending time with and learning about the animals we share our planet with, but quickly realized that many of my favorite species were recently extinct or heading in that direction due to overconsumption of natural resources. That’s why I hope that by educating people about the amazing creatures in our own backyards, we can be more motivated to protect these ecosystems and find a balance that will help our planet thrive and for us to have a more sustainable future.