Sophia is an M.A. candidate in the Sustainable Tourism program at the Patel College of Global Sustainability. From her time in the program, she has been trained in innovative tourism interpretation technologies like the Matterport 360 3D Camera. Some of her projects have included promoting and preserving Egmont Key and other local initiatives to align and implement the SDGs within Tampa Bay. Sophia has gained a collection of knowledge from her internships in fighting single-use plastics with Oceana, encouraging agritourism with Fat Beet Farm, and helping the SDG Action Alliance to connect the hearts and minds of Tampa Bay residents and visitors with the SDGs for regenerative practices. Sophia is looking forward to continuing her work within the sustainable tourism supply chain beyond graduation.
All I knew before this program was that the world was on the edge of dramatic tipping points. PCGS gave me the tools to think and act on these issues by teaching me the nexus between academia and public/private work. I was able to narrow my passion in sustainability by focusing on water and food security. This allowed me to be involved with local community farming, DIY sustainability projects on the rosebud continuum and gave me a deeper understanding of water sustainability and the surrounding solutions. Without PCGS I would not be able to be interning with my dream organization. I am currently a science intern at Blue Forest Conservation, researching how forest restoration affects water quantity and quality. I get to research and discuss stream restoration, forestry, and conservation all while having the responsibility to create innovative deliverables for the company. PCGS has taught me to be confident in my ability to understand complex questions and find simple solutions.
Throughout my time at PCGS, I was able to connect with students that share the same passions as I do. PCGS led me to my first internship, as a Sustainable Business Intern, for a non-profit named WellFed Community. This has been an amazing experience working with the community to build healthier and more sustainable food systems through education. This internship inspired me to get my certificate in Sustainable Business and I am excited to apply my knowledge to my future employer.
Samantha Vorce is an M.A. candidate in the Sustainable Tourism program at the Patel College of Global Sustainability. She also has a certificate in Food Sustainability and Security from PCGS. She has worked with USF’s Access 3D Lab, SDG Action Alliance, The Coalition of Community Gardens of Tampa Bay, Rosebud Continuum, and the Egmont Key Alliance. PCGS along with the above internships has provided her experience in social media planning, digital technology and software, and interpretation training. She has also presented at conferences around the globe, including the World Sustainability Conference.
I started my time at PCGS as an online student, however, I realized I could be taking advantage of more opportunities by moving to Tampa during my last year. I met some really amazing people, worked on an aquaponics system at Rosebud Continuum, participated in various beach clean-ups, and began educating peers on vermicomposting systems.
As an online student pursuing an M.A. in Global Sustainability with a concentration in Food Sustainability and Security, I benefited from both asynchronous and synchronous methods of teaching. The instructors were patient, understanding, and highly skilled at leveraging the online nature of the program. For my Capstone Project I focused on Government Incentives Aimed at Promoting Sustainable Practices on Small Agricultural Farms: (The Nevis Hydro Gardens Experience) this documentation served as an eye-opener in connecting policy with small farm practices. It was an invaluable experience. I wish The Patel College of Global Sustainability well in its quest to shape minds to confront the challenges of Sustainability.
Mehmet Apaydin, a Master of Arts candidate in Global Sustainability with a concentration in Sustainability Policy at the Patel College of Global Sustainability (PCGS). The PCGS provided him with a unique opportunity for interdisciplinary work. Under the supervision of Dr. Heather Rothrock, he pursued a study path that combined sustainability and higher education. His thesis, "Integration of Sustainability into Higher Education Policies: A Case Study of the University of South Florida" addresses how USF incorporates sustainability values and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals into its policies and implementations. He is looking forward to employing his academic acquisitions on sustainability in the development of higher education policies in Türkiye, his home country.
Madeline is an M.S. candidate in the Food Security and Sustainability Program at PCGS. Throughout the program, she has presented a completed solar array assessment to the City of Largo leadership, with a student group she designed and constructed a rainwater catchment system for the St. Pete Youth Farm, and she has worked to increase food equity through her community garden internship with The Well, Inc. She has earned both the USF IRB Researcher Certificate and Graduate Certificate in Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation. In addition, she conducted a semester-long research project focusing on Regenerative Farming and Soil Biodiversity in Hillsborough County, Florida. Madeline looks forward to continuing to pursue food equity and soil science beyond Tampa Bay post-graduation.
During my time at PCGS, I have had the pleasure to meet some lifelong friends and incredible mentors while learning how to use my passion and education to advocate for sustainable solutions that will lead to equitable and lasting change. Since I began my studies at PCGS I have been working at the U.S. Green Chamber of Commerce on their Global Solutions Team where I have been leading a team and building a repository of sustainable solutions. In August 2021, I also began working with a local Sustainable Consulting Firm, Moss & Mollusk Consulting, where I built the funding portion of The Living Landscape of Reuse Solutions database and have continued assisting with other projects. I successfully identified over $1 Billion in the funding of reuse solutions! I am incredibly grateful to have the opportunity after graduation to continue working with this incredible group of impactful and inspiring women who are focused on building a more sustainable future. I would like to thank Professor Hanna-West for driving me to explore opportunities out of my comfort zone and for her continuous support over the past year and a half.
Nonna is an M.S. candidate in the Sustainable Water program and received a Graduate Certificate in Sustainable Tourism at the Patel College of Global Sustainability. During her time in the program, she has worked with Keep Pasco Beautiful, a local nonprofit environmental organization. She helped create their program, Companies for a Cause, which educates the hospitality industry on how to increase their sustainability efforts and prevent waste from entering water bodies. While not in school, Nonna is an environmental scientist at the Southwest Florida Water Management District where she protects Florida’s water resources, specifically wetlands.
I've had an extremely successful graduate experience; I will be graduating Summa Cum Laude with the help of the most insightful and passionate professors I have ever studied under, I am finishing an internship on the Sustainability Team at Genesys (Software Company) and I will be starting a fellowship with the EDF Climate Corps this coming Summer. PCGS has taught me the deeper connection between the environment, society, and governance; sustainability is a journey that truly belongs to us all.