University of South Florida

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Two USF PCGS students receive Florida Green Building Coalition scholarships for 2023

USF PCGS student Gaven Simon, center, is pictured with Dr. Govindan Parayil (left), Dean of the Patel College of Global Sustainability at the University of South Florida, and Florida Green Building Coalition Executive Director C.J. Davila.

Two USF PCGS global sustainability master's students are among the recipients of this year’s scholarships awarded by the Florida Green Building Coalition (FGBC), the leading certifier of green projects in the state.

Gaven Simon of New Port Richey and Kashae Barrett of Homestead received the FGBC’s statewide scholarship through the program created in 2016 for deserving students pursuing careers in the green built environment or related sustainability studies. 

Simon, passionate about achieving net zero emissions, graduated high school with an associate’s degree from St.Petersburg College and received his Bachelor of Arts in sustainability studies from the University of Florida.

At UF he was involved in climate organizations, attending out-of-state sustainability conferences and finding a deep passion for urban planning. 

He works as a market research analyst on an industrial sustainability and energy team covering multiple industries, including building electrification, renewable energy, smart metering, and electric vehicle charging. 

He has developed a “regulation round-up,” writing about the effects of new regulations on cities, building codes, businesses, and people. The USF Global Sustainability Master of Science program aligns with his experience in green building infrastructure, policy, and renewable energy. 

He has been involved with Climate Action Gators, Tampa Bay Climate Alliance, and Youth Climate Strike. He has also been a Bard Sustainability Fellow, and has attended the SISE Fellow-UIC sustainability conference.

After graduation he would like to become a Chief Sustainability Officer or Sustainability Manager for a city or government, a senior sustainability analyst, head of ESG, a Chief Resilience Officer or CEO of his own company.

Barrett is a graduate of the Logistics and Supply Chain Management Program at Florida International University. Her environmental activities have included cleaning of the Great Riverbanks, picking up garbage, glass bottles for recycling and burned, unused bamboo.

She has studied the use of cardboard boxes as a waste measure instead of plastic garbage bags, and cardboard boxes to carry groceries instead of tote or plastic bags. She also has participated bi-weekly at the local food pantry. 

During her studies, Barrett learned from case analysis, simulations, logistic strategies, new systems, and industry guest speakers, and worked at a logistics facility to gain a quantifiable perspective on what’s happening now. 

She is currently studying courses in Global Sustainability, concentrating on Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation. Her goals in the sustainability field are broad objectives, but her focus is to create and maintain a clean, honest, and joyful environment. 

Goals after graduation include working for the Environmental Protection Agency in multiple roles, to work for a manufacturing facility in a sustainability role or for her uncle's logistics business using what she has learned to adapt better management practices.

For more information about the Florida Green Building Coalition, call (407) 777-4914, or email or visit

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