Internship Opportunities

TFISE supports student internships in two primary ways: 1) the Student Sustainability Internship program which has an annual proposal application process and is run in collaboration with the Office of Sustainability; and 2) Research Internships through competitve working group proposals where faculty mentors in one of the TFISE working groups apply to fund an intern position to work in that research area. 

Student Sustainability Internships


Built Environment
Sarah Cooley, Architecture.
Advisor: Doug Appler, Historic Preservation
Assignment: Conducting research and creating tools to use for analysis of Rail Trails to assess the relationship between rail trails, their effect on the community, and how new rail trails could benefit communities.

Urban Forest Initiative
Rachel Cook, Environmental and Sustainability Studies and Natural Resources and Envrionmental Science.
Advisors: Nic Williamson and Mary Arthur, Forestry
Assignment: Working to expand UFI's outreach through website development, Adopt-a-tree, and stories about UK's tree canopy.


The 2015-2016 interns completed their projects in May 2016.  Find out more about the internship experience of the TFISE interns by clicking the links below. To see project summaries from all 6 interns, follow this link UK's Sustainability websiteCongratulations to the first cohort!

Food Systems Initiative
Elise McConnell, Anthropology and English with Spanish minor.
Independent project - Conducted ethnographic study of the Shawneetown Community Garden to assess the social, cultural, and economic benefits

Urban Forest Initiative
Amanda Williams, Bioenvironmental Engineering.
Independent project - Developed an interactive campus tree walk to connect the UK community with the trees around them.

Water Systems Working Group
Garrett Pieratt, Information Communication Technology.
Independent project - Developed a stormwater database for the CATchment, an example of green infrastructure and a Living Learning Laboratory.



Research Internships

For 2016, the Sustainable Nanotechnology Working Group obtained funds to support undergraduate summer interns to conduct research to characterize and understand the effects of nanoparticles. 

The 2014-2015 students receiving nanotechnology internships included Alex Burkhart (ENGR), Tammy Jamison (CHS), and Stuart Lichtenberg (CAFE).  They concluded their internship by presenting their results at the 2015 retreat held May 22, 2015 at the Hilary J. Boone Center. Congratulations to these students for excellent work!  (Link to their work here)



2016-2017 Student Sustainability Internship Application (closed for this year - the next call will be Spring 2017)

TFISE, Student Sustainability Council, and Office of Sustainability have teamed to re-develop the student intern program which was launched Spring of 2015 through a proposal application process.  Students are expected to work for10 hours per week with part of that time dedicated to development of an independent project.  Applications are now being accepted for the 2016-2017 academic year with a deadline of April 9, 2016.  TFISE will be supporting two interns who will be mentored by faculty in the the Urban Forest Initiative and Built Environment Working Groups.  A brief description of the major responsibilities are provided below.  In addition, internships are offered in the areas of waste reduction, energy, and outreach.  To apply for any of these positions, please follow this link to the UK Sustainability website

Urban Forest Initiative: The Urban Forest Initiative (UFI) is committed to connecting people to the urban forests of UK campus, Lexington and the Bluegrass Region through social media, community outreach, research and education.

Major responsibilities:

  • Develop and Implement outreach and education projects through social media, website updates,
  • Represent UFI at events such as Arbor Day and Reforest the Bluegrass.
  • Work in partnership with UFI leaders and working group members within the Lexington community, to elevate the visibility and quality of the urban forest in our community.

Built Environment: The Built Environment Working Group is initiating a project that will explore the health benefits of urban rail-to-trail projects in low-income neighborhoods in Kentucky, Indiana, and Ohio.  The ideal candidate will have a strong interest in at least one of the following: Rail-Trails, urban recreational amenities, bicycle/pedestrian planning, railroad history, or public health.  A working knowledge of ArcGIS is preferred.  The selected candidate will have the support of faculty in developing a related research project.

Major responsibilities:

  • Assist a team of faculty, staff, and students from several colleges to research and perform onsite assessments of completed Rail-Trail projects
  • Administer surveys and enter data from completed surveys.
  • Assist researchers with mapping and data assessment.

Please contact us if you would like to find out more about internship opportunities.


Solution for Sustainability Student Research Projects

Two proposals were each awarded $1500 for a sustainable research project to be applied to a local issue.  The funding was provided by Dr. Arnim Wiek of ASU's School of Sustainability and matched by TFISE. 

Promoting Healthy Lifestyles in Targeted Minority Settings

Student Team: Maja Redzic and Evan Cassity (Graduate Center for Nutritional Sciences) as coordinators with team members Cory Kohler, Maram Alhowaish, Reem Basaqr.
Faculty Mentor: Geza Bruckner (Professor) and Travis Thomas (Assistant Professor) Clinical Nutrition

Reducing Lexington's Carbon Footprint

Student Team: Karyn Loughrin and Elizabeth Patten (Natural Resources and Environmental Science) and Chase Clark (Forestry)


© 2013 Tracy Farmer Institute for Sustainability and the Environment