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Sustainable Development Internship Program

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 Sustainable Development Internship provides undergraduate students a space to build confidence and capacity in their search for creative solutions to local and global problems.

Spring 22 Interns photo

The WVU Center for Resilient Communities in the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences, launched the internship program in 2019 to support professional readiness, community-based research training and provide opportunities for students to engage with community partners in meaningful social action in WV. Since 2019, the CRC and partners have hosted over 80 students and supported 13 community-based organizations that are working to improve access to food, advance environmental conservation, agricultural development, downtown revitalization, health equity and environmental justice. Sustainable Development Interns have hailed from degree programs across the Eberly College of Arts and Science including Geography, Women’s and Gender Studies, Anthropology, Political Science, Biology, International Studies, World Languages and Environmental Geoscience. We will start accepting applications for SDI 2025 in September 2024.

Youth Leaders

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Jordan Dixon-Gross

International Studies and Philosophy

"There tends to be a narrative that West Virginia and Appalachia is lagging and burnt-out. Because of this, people often dismiss the region and overlook their need need for formal and informal help as if unworthy of it."

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Noah Carter

Environmental Geoscience, Geography, and History

"The Sustainable Development Internship is a great opportunity to gain research and leadership experience while implementing sustainable solutions to problems facing the local Morgantown community and larger Appalachian region."

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Wren King

Anthropology, Women’s & Gender Studies, and Geography

"The Sustainable Development Internship is a fantastic opportunity to directly give back to the community that has given so much to me while also putting my education into action."

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Susanna Risk

Economics and Political Science

"I am inspired to make a change by growing up in West Virginia and seeing people I know struggle with drugs, housing, and unemployment. I am hoping to gain more knowledge about the issues affecting Appalachia today and what we can do to help."

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Sam Van Haaren


"I am inspired by the opportunity to make a difference and I am hoping to contribute to sustainable change in Appalachia and enhance environmental conservation in the region."

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Haley Paul

Political Science and International Studies

"This internship is an incredible opportunity to effect change in the community."

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Kaylie McGraw

Political Science

"WVU has given many opportunities and I cannot think of a better way to continue my involvement than by researching and assisting those in our own state."

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Jason Lehosit

Geography and History

"I am hoping to use this opportunity to get more involved with my community and see firsthand the importance of local activism."

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Savannah Reese


"Growing up in West Virginia, I often heard that you needed to leave the state to be successful. As I've gotten older, I've been able to see the growing opportunities in the state.

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Gabriella Gill


"I have been given so many opportunities and help within my life, so with this internship I hope to help enrich other folks life who are less fortunate."

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David Tincher

English and Public Health

"I am deeply interested in human rights and social justice affected by climate change, pollution, and industrialization. I hope to aid in finding solutions to these matters on community and global scales!"

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Mark McKnight


"West Virginia is an amazing place with a lot of potential. I applied to this internship to give back to a community that has provided me with so many amazing opportunities. "

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Maya Carter

Public Health

"As a student in public health, I'm hoping to see how organizations directly tackle issues such as food and environment inequalities in areas around Morgantown."

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Connor Siock


" I am deeply passionate about this field and I have a strong desire to help people while also helping the environment. I am looking forward to learning new things and gaining valuable, real-world experiences!"

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Courtney O'Neil

Political Science and History

"I applied for the sustainable development internship because I want to go into environmental law and I hope to learn more about what I can do to help through the process."

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Brin Turner

Environmental and Energy Resource Management

"The warmth of WVU Geography was a major factor for my application to the Sustainable Development Internship. I’m looking forward to all of the collaborative work and actionable change that I will have the opportunity to take part in."

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Dylan Upperman

Environmental, Soil, and Water Sciences

"West Virginia is an amazing place with a lot of potential. I applied to this internship to give back to a community that has provided me with so many amazing opportunities. I hope to gain real world experience through collaborating with amazing individuals to develop sustainable communities and to build a better and brighter future for everyone."

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A'ngelay Walker


"Quiet women seldom make history"

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Alexandra Ehlers

International Studies

"I am interested in applying the UN's SDGs to the rural level here in Appalachia. I hope after this experience I will have learned more about what it's like to work in development at the regional level, and can apply that to development on the global scale."

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Lillian Hebel


"I was inspired to apply to this position because it is contributing to research that will benefit and help communities in my home state. Hopefully, it will help me harness my writing abilities and allow me to discover how I can utilize my geography major in a meaningful way in the future."

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Ethan Harner

Geography and Economics

"In a future where climate change is becoming a reality, I believe that sustainable development will be the greatest challenge facing West Virginia and the world. Through this internship, I hope to gain insights into inequality problems facing West Virginia and examine what measures are being taken to address this inequality."

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Katie Charlebois

International Studies

"The SDGs inspire me in my life, and help me believe that cooperation and a better future are possible. I was excited at the chance to participate in an internship to advance these goals. I’m sure it will be an experience that will continue to build the foundation for the education and tools necessary for a lifelong journey working towards equality."

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Vrushali Parikh


"A clean environment for our future generations is what inspired me to apply for the Sustainable development Internship. I am hoping that this internship will help me grow personally and professionally. I am looking forward to improving my skills by working with my peers and mentors. "

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Isaac DeBastiani

Geography and History

"I have always been interested in geography and this internship is a great fit for me expanding my horizons in the field. I hope to gain experience, whether its in the field or in the classroom."


Jillian Blair

Environmental and Energy Resource Management

"This internship is an incredible opportunity to connect with innovative peers and create a sustainable path ahead. I hope to gain a wholistic perspective of society and the ways it functions while also developing my skills in sustainable planning and living."

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Arniecia Charles

Environmental Geoscience 

"No matter the obstacles, communities must be prepared to work together to recover from natural disasters and to fight for equality in rural America. This internship helped me to learn what the needs of the community are and to create sustainable results for future generations."

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Gabriel Abreu-Vigil

Environmental Geoscience and Geography

"This is a great program that allows students like me to gain invaluable experience working with community partners throughout West Virginia."

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Erica Stratton

Geography with an area of emphasis in GIS

"The Sustainable Development Internship gave me the opportunity to use geography to serve the community. I gained experience by applying my knowledge to real world situations"

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Sarah Zanabli

Biology with a minor in Nutrition

"No matter how bleak or menacing a situation may appear, it does not entirely own us. It can't take away our freedom to respond, our power to take action,” said Ryder Carroll. Through this program I strengthened my ability to respond to adversity in order to better myself and the community."

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Madison Matheny

International Studies with a minor in Geography

"Through the Sustainable Development Internship I was able to translate the knowledge I have learned in my courses to this experience and learn how to apply sustainable, ecological and ethical principles to a professional setting"

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Chisom Ejimofor

Environmental, Soil and Water Sciences

"Through this project, I was able to learn, discover, teach, and partake in any actions that would aid in the longevity of God's green earth and keep it thriving for my generation and generations to come."

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Jackeline Amaya Rocha

Environmental Geoscience with a minor in Economics

"The Sustainable Development Internship enabled me to expand upon my current knowledge in the field and create lasting relationships with the community! "

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Carolyn Sommer

Anthropology and Geography

"I was inspired by the prospect of furthering my understanding of the profession and enhancing future opportunities by working for an organization that will allow me to give back to the community."

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Casey Tabor

Environmental Geoscience

"I was inspired to apply by my passion for the exploration and preservation of the natural world. I gained experience and some tools to help me be successful in my career."

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Hannah Byxbee

Environmental Geoscience with a Minor in Engineering

"The Sustainable Development Internship offered me a chance to become involved in real world projects and contribute to the community through my work while gaining practical experience in the field during the program.”"

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Martha Ball

Political Science and International Studies

"I am constantly inspired by the transformative work of the WVU Center for Resilient Communities and their partners. I was thrilled to have been chosen for this experience which has deepened my understanding of grassroots organizing, downtown development, and creative placemaking."

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Sara Lusher

Environmental Geoscience with a minor in GIS

"I applied in hopes of extending my knowledge in the field beyond the coursework I have obtained through the department. Applying the practical knowledge I have gained to this internship opportunity will help me to navigate potential related careers after I graduate."

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Noah Moulton

Geography and Women and Gender Studies

"I gained valuable experience in the field of sustainable development."

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Gabriella Browne


"My goal for the internship was to see different facets of Geography which will enable me to decide my long term career goals. I not only gained knowledge in the field but also hands-on experience."

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Christina White

Biology and International Studies, with a minor in Spanish

"This program was a key avenue to better understand current issues and highlight the multicultural mosaic that makes my state shine. I gained skills related to storytelling, networking, and advocating for a career dedicated to holistic wellness."

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Zachary Gilpin

History, Spanish and Latin American studies

"The program enables the practical application of the academic study of geography to contemporary activism, social and economic justice, and community engagement. I believe that, at its best, geography has the potential to systematically address contemporary issues in culturally sensitive ways within particular spatial contexts.”"

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Falon Snodgrass

French and International Studies 

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Mallory Quinn

Environmental Geoscience

"Through the Sustainable Development Internship I learned through hands-on learning. It was a way to deepen my understanding and gain experience which brought me to this internship and I am beyond excited to be a part of this program."

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Carolina Rascon

Geography and Women and Gender studies major

"As a part of the program, I contribute to advance an emergent movement for the Right to Food in West Virginia."

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Aerianna McClanahan

English and Women and Gender Studies

"This opportunity was the perfect crossroads for me to not only continue my research on diversity and activism in Appalachia, but also chase after a new dream - something unknown… to have found such an incredibly supportive group of people - folks who are also invested in my same vision of empowering the people of this region."

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Gabriella Lebo

Psychology and English

"I’m from an area that has seen an exceptional amount of outrage and marginalization at the hands of both state governments and corporations."

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Macy Withrow

Sociology with minors in Communication and Women and Gender Studies

"Being a West Virginia native I have not seen a lot of community based work for my community by my community. I see a lot of outreach when something tragic happens or when the community is in need, but the center was one of the first programs that I had come across in my state that focused on what we need."

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Adia Kolb

Sociology and Women and Gender Studies

"I first applied to the program as a way to get involved with local community groups and social action efforts. In addition to finding a way to give back to my community and state, I’ve also found an incredible group of mentors, colleagues, and friends. The program has opened doors for me and given me a place to call home at WVU where I feel welcomed, accepted, and wholly supported."