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The Center for Resilient Communities Welcomes Sixteen Students to the 2024 Sustainable Development Internship Program

Sixteen students selected for the fifth annual Sustainable Development Internship at the WVU Center for Resilient Communities, based in the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences at West Virginia University. 

The Sustainable Development Internship is designed for undergraduate students who wish to cultivate their leadership and community-based research capacities to contribute to transformative social change in Appalachia. The internship provides students a space to build confidence and capacity in their search for creative solutions to local and global problems. The WVU Center for Resilient Communities launched the internship program in 2019 to support professional readiness and community-based research training, and to provide opportunities for students to engage with community partners in meaningful social action in West Virginia.

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Samuel William Bayne Environmental Soil and Water Science

I applied for the Sustainable Development Internship because I want to be able to make real change in my community even before I graduate. I am hoping to gain valuable relationships with peers and mentors.

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Jack Van Dusen,   Environmental Engineering

I want to help make change in whatever way I can, so I am excited for this opportunity to give back to West Virginia. I am looking forward to meeting others with the same goals, working for this community, and developing my own skills in the process.

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Kirsten Jaquish Social Work

I'm excited to learn about food injustice and food insecurity. My goal is to learn how it affects communities all over the Appalachian area and beyond. I hope to use this opportunity of knowledge in the future for my professional field.

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Bane Clements-Smart International Studies

"Don't be afraid to take the leap. You'll never know how far you can go until you try." -Cory DeVante Williams

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Ilan Rice Multidisciplinar y Studies

I want to spend my time and energy making a tangible difference in the world around me, and am looking forward to being part of a program that is forward-thinking.

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Alexandra Winn Communications

I am eager to form meaningful connections within the community and meet others passionate about making a positive difference in Appalachia. I hope to work on a project that I can be proud of and cherish forever as well as develop my leadership skills!

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Shelby Davis Civil Engineering

I'm excited to give back to my community and bring projects to life. "Getting an idea should be like sitting down on a pin; it should make you jump up and do something." - E.L. Simpson. 


Benjamin Heinlein International Studies

As someone engaged in my global, local, and campus communities, I eagerly anticipate the valuable experiences and personal growth this internship promises to bring. I look forward to collaborating with community leaders and gaining insightful knowledge from their expertise.

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Cameron Mahar Environmental and Community Planning

I was inspired to apply, because in my future career I hope to design and plan community establishments while taking into consideration how we can build and design more sustainably. I'm hoping to gain valuable hands-on experience outside of the normal classroom, as well as make connections.


Kylie Blackburn, Environmental and Community Planning

I am deeply inspired by the intricate connection between our natural environment and the well-being of local communities. This internship is a perfect opportunity for me to apply the knowledge and passion I have cultivated during my studies. I am eager to gain real-world experience in sustainable development, working directly with communities to implement eco-friendly solutions and urban planning strategies that enhance people's lives while preserving the environment. Through this internship, I hope to not only contribute to the advancement of sustainable development but also further develop my skills, broaden my perspectives, and be a part of positive change in the world.

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Rissell Velarde, Environmental and Energy Resources Mgmnt

I have always dreamed of helping communities to obtain equality and education. During my time at WVU, I have learned we can reach this goal by combining economic and energy resources while listening to the voices of the affected communities.

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Brooke Watters Geology

What inspired me to apply for the internship is to continue to following my interest in research and expand my scope of knowledge. I hope to gain a new interest of study and a new network of peers to connect with.


Josephine Kemp-Rye Biology and Philosophy

This internship provides an avenue to help both the people and the environment of West Virginia, a state that I have loved my whole life. I'm looking forward to putting what I've learned at WVU to use in order to build a better community.

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Selena Melendez Environmental Geoscience 

I've been given this opportunity to contribute to sustainable changes in the community. I'm excited to apply my knowledge to better Morgantown and the Appalachian Region while gaining research experience.


Lennon Jewell Auvil Geology

My interest in sustainability stems from a determination to find collaborative ways to better not only ourselves as individuals, but also the environment around us so that future generations receive the same if not better opportunities that we did. I hope that I am able to see first hand the kind of impact that the sustainability goals strive for can have on a community.


Devin Barkefelt Landscape Architecture

“Cities have the capability of providing something for everybody, only because, and only when, they are created by everybody.“ -Jane Jacobs