Newark Green Team in Community Garden

Student Sustainability Awards

Students conducting sustainability projects under the mentorship of collaborating organizations and faculty are eligible for Sustainability Awards. The Montclair State University’s PSEG Institute for Sustainability Studies (PSEG ISS) Work to Succeed Program is an educational initiative that offers opportunities for students to work in paid positions while gaining practical experience that can increase their competitiveness in applications to jobs and graduate or professional school, as well as to elevate the level of scholarship by underrepresented groups, to build partnerships among organizations, and to diversify the workforce through sustainability-related work.

Student Sustainability Award Recipients

Javonica Latimore

NJM Sustainability Award recipient Javonica Latimore is a senior with a major in Sustainability Science 4+1 program and two minors in Environmental Justice and Geographic Information Science (GIS). Her interest centers around promoting sustainable living through urban design with respect to Environmental Justice. She plans to use GIS to help make digestible content like dashboards and maps to inform them of the environmental dangers in the area. Utilizing her knowledge in sustainability and GIS, she will be collaborating with the PSEG ISS, and Dr. Amy Tuininga to open a Geoinformatics center that focuses on sustainability. Latimore will be finishing her degree in May 2024.

Stephanie Martinez

NJM Sustainability Award recipient Stephanie Martinez is a Biology major focusing on endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDC) associated research. During the Summer of 2021, Steph had the opportunity to gather research and data to complete the City of Newark’s sustainability tracking programs focusing on CDP-ICLEI and LEED for Cities and Communities. Her passion is to advocate for BIPOC and low-income communities through research, and provide actionable recommendations that contribute to equity and environmental justice. Utilizing her research skills, community organizing, and gardening knowledge she will be a collaborator to further the mission of Newark Science and Sustainability focusing on healthy food access, wellness and nutrition education and entrepreneurship opportunities. Steph will be completing her degree in May 2022.

Leanna Sanchez

NJM Sustainability Award recipient Leanna Sanchez is a senior with a major in Anthropology and a minor in Sustainability Science at Montclair State University (MSU). Over the summer, Leanna worked with New Jersey Bike & Walk Coalition as a part of the Green Teams Program and will be continuing her work with the organization throughout this fall 2022 semester. Her work will continue to focus on engaging surrounding communities in the development of the Essex-Hudson Greenway through interdisciplinary research, graphic design support, communications and additional support for presentations regarding the project. She will be graduating in May 2023 with her Bachelors, and continuing her degree in a Masters of Sustainability Science the following fall as a part of the 4+1 program offered by MSU.

Iman Cumberbatch
NJM Sustainability Award recipient Iman Cumberbatch is a senior with a major in Information Technology and a minor in Geographic Information Science (GIS). Her interest centers around creating and analyzing different data sets and maps to inform proposed actions about environmental injustice in urban communities. Coming from an urban community herself, Cumberbatch understands the difficulties and environmental issues that are abandoned. Utilizing her abilities in technology and GIS, she will be collaborating with the City of Jersey City’s Office of Sustainability, CAPA Strategies, NOAA, and Dr. Amy Tuininga to align her project on analyzing how heat is affecting various elements of Jersey City. Cumberbatch will be finishing her degree in May 2022.
Irene Posada
Steven Winter Associates Award recipient Irene Posada is an Environment, Economy, Development, and Sustainability major. She has a deep passion for energy policy in New York City and researching retrofitting technologies. In her project, she will focus on large-scale energy analysis and expanding building science insights through ArcGIS. She will be working on doing city-wide EUI analysis and researching new energy normalization parameters in order to create more proactive retrofitting laws for NYC. She will expand her research with NYC sustainability executives to expand carbon footprint analysis at a city scale. She will be graduating in May 2023.
Ingrid Witty
Steven Winter Associates Award recipient Ingrid Witty is a senior student majoring in Geography with a concentration in Environmental Studies and a minor in Geographic Information Systems (GIS). Ingrid combines her knowledge and experience in Geography, GIS, green infrastructure, real estate, and horticulture to help implement and bring forth new best practices and solutions to aid in the conservation and protection of the environment and natural resources. Ingrid plans to use the latest in technology, sustainability, green building, and ecosystem management to further research and solve environmental challenges.

Andrew Dicken
NJ TRANSIT Award recipient Andrew Dicken is a Sustainability major with a minor in both Chemistry and Applied Physics. Working in tandem with NJ TRANSIT’s Energy and Sustainability team, Dicken is developing a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) of battery electric buses. Conducting an LCA not only quantifies the carbon and energy footprint of electric buses, but also identifies how to improve electric buses and minimize their environmental impact. In addition to this work, Dicken is exploring the second life and recyclability of the batteries used by electric buses. Andrew will be completing his degree in December 2021.
Saul Contreras

NJM Sustainability Award recipient Saul Contreras is pursuing a combined BS/MS in the subject areas of Physics and Applied Mathematics. His focus is to use differential equation modeling to capture the system dynamics of carbon sequestration in a forest. He admires the natural powers that trees have, from being able to cool down the atmosphere to removing pollutants from it. In collaboration with Dr. Eric Forgoston, Dr. Dirk Vanderklein, and Dr. Amy Tuininga, he is using the opportunity to advance his knowledge about differential equations and mathematical modeling. Saul will be completing his studies in December 2021.

Patsy Herrera

NJM Sustainability Award recipient Patsy Herrera is a Biology major with a concentration in Environmental Science and a minor in Anthropology. Her interests focus on researching and creating solutions for food insecure communities. Teaming up with Montclair State University Professor and Biology Department Chairperson, Dr. Dirk Vanderklein, she has chosen to align her project with linking local community gardens to the university’s very own greenhouse. Utilizing the campus greenhouse as an extended resource, Herrera hopes to provide specific answers to any scientific questions the community gardens may have concerning particular plants/crops. Additionally, she considers merging her knowledge of aquaculture and hydroponics in the field of agroponics. Patsy will be completing her degree in May 2020.

Yvette Viasus

Stryker Sustainability Award recipient Yvette Viasus is a senior double majoring in Sustainability Science and Geography. As the President of the Student Chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), Viasus is interning at Stryker within the Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) department. She is using this opportunity to expand her knowledge in Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) green building as well as Geographic Information Systems (GIS). Viasus is in the process of obtaining a variety of LEED credentials as well as a drone flying license. She plans on utilizing her education and experience as a volunteer to assist in the construction of sustainable communities abroad. Yvette will be completing her degrees in May 2020.

Portia Calo

NJM Sustainability Award recipient Portia Calo, a Nutrition and Food Science major, chose to concentrate her project on alleviating food insecurity in at risk neighborhoods. Working alongside Newark’s Chief Sustainability Officer, Nathaly Agosto Filión, Calo initiated support for farmer’s markets and community gardens in order to increase fresh food access in the city of Newark. Through her work, Calo played an integral role in better connecting the community to City Hall. After exploring sustainable sources of nutrition used by natives of Colombia, Portia now works as a Nutrition Assistant at Hackensack Meridian Health.

Samuel Hall

NJM Sustainability Award recipient Samuel Hall, a Physics major, centered his project on the energy sector of sustainability. He recognizes that resource management is a key factor in the realm of Sustainability. In cooperation with the manager of Energy and Sustainability Programs at NJ TRANSIT, Steven Jenks, through the use of advanced energy technologies to improve project planning, Hall closely examined resource availability and capacity and made recommendations for additional monitoring and improved energy efficiency and that were implemented. Sam now works as a Solar Analyst at Momentum Solar.