Introducing our 2024 Summer Fellows!

Last updated June 17, 2024

By Web Admin

By Joy Baker ’14, Associate Director of Sustainability Programs

From helping the BMW Charity Pro-Am Golf tournament achieve its zero-waste goals to catching (and releasing) snakes on the Furman Farm, our Summer Fellows have had an engaging first week!

This summer, The Shi Institute and nine community partners are hosting 16 Student Fellows. For 10 weeks, these Fellows are paired with businesses, non-profits and local governments to experience sustainability careers and to do important work promoting a more resilient South Carolina. The Shi Institute’s diverse network of community partners attracts students from a wide range of backgrounds and interests. This summer’s Fellows cohort spans eight academic disciplines including Economics, French, Anthropology and Philosophy.

What makes their experience truly unique is that Student Fellows are going beyond just experiencing one sustainability career at their fellowship placement. Each week, students gather on Zoom to hear from a sustainability professional about their career path and to get practical advice on how to successfully navigate the exciting and ever-growing green jobs market.  In the coming weeks, students will hear from Keenan Adams ’05, Forest Supervisor of El Yunque National Forest in Puerto Rico, about his career in forest management. Frank Holleman ’76 will share stories of his decades long career as an environmental lawyer and stories from his current role as senior attorney for the Environmental Law Center. Networking opportunities like these are invaluable to students’ growth as professionals.

Read more about each fellow and their experiences below:

Anna Jones ‘27 is a Sustainability Science major and the Shi Institute’s Assistant Farm Manager.  She is from Spartanburg and grew up hiking, camping and working with horses. She’s most passionate about sustainable agriculture and mitigating fast fashion. Outside of the Furman Farm, you can find her at the gym, around local concerts or with her sorority sisters in ZTA.

Ella Filippo ’26 is a Politics and International Affairs major and Urban Studies minor. She is the Planning Fellow at the City of Travelers Rest this summer which has opened opportunities to explore her interests in local government and city planning. Conservation, green space and walkable communities are all subjects that brought Ella into this field. Although her hometown is Clemson, Ella prefers reading, walking and watching history documentaries to sports.

Aruzhan Sakhariyanova ’26 is a double majoring in Sustainability Science and Communication Studies. She grew up in Astana, Kazakhstan, where she became interested in promoting sustainable practices through activism. This summer, her Communication and Outreach Fellowship combines both of her passions, allowing her to highlight environmental topics through media. In her free time, Aru enjoys traveling, thrifting and playing the piano.

Anna DeMino ’26 is majoring in Sustainability Sciences and Communications on the Advocacy and Rhetoric Track. She is so excited to be the Eco Rep Fellow this summer, working to redevelop the program at Furman. Her passion for sustainability started in fourth-grade environmental science class so now majoring and working with the Shi Institute for a sustainable future means a lot to her. Anna is originally from Maryland and she loves picking Maryland blue crabs at crab feasts. In her free time, she enjoys reading and watching Rom Coms, people-watching and making playlists. Anna is so excited to be back working at the Shi Institute for the third year and can’t wait for more opportunities to come!

Luke Anderson ’26 is studying Sustainability Science and Philosophy at Furman. Luke is from Greenville and is working with Sustaining Way as a Sustainable Agriculture Fellow. He was interested in the fellowship because he enjoys spending time outside and learning about sustainable agriculture. He also enjoys exploring the mountains of North Carolina and listening to music.

Success T. Mulbah ’26 is majoring in Sustainability Science and minoring in Data Analytics. She grew up in lower Virginia, Liberia, and later moved to Israel to complete high school. Success is an Environmental Engineer Fellow at Greenville City Hall Engineering Department. This opportunity has allowed her to explore her interest in city planning, sustainable development and aspects of landscape architecture which she plans on pursuing post undergrad. Outside of academics, Success is passionate about dance and is part of the Furman Majorettes team, the Purple Diamonds. She loves to crochet, workout at the PAC, listen to podcasts and take leisure walks around campus.

Anna Hicks ’25 is serving as an Environmental Social Governance (ESG) Fellow at Pacolet Milliken this summer. She is a double Politics and International Affairs and Economics major from Alpharetta, Ga. Anna was drawn to this fellowship with the Shi Institute to learn how to incorporate more sustainable practices into her interests of local politics, economic development and public policy. In her free time, she enjoys being outside, reading good books and exploring local coffee shops with her roommates.

Claudia Joyce ’26 of Concord, N.C. is majoring in Sustainability Science and French. She loves animals and grew up near the Georgia Aquarium. Claudia is working at the Greenville Zoo as the Conservation and Education Fellow and hopes to pursue a career in global conservation after Furman. She is excited to fulfill her passions for art and design, connecting with nature and working with animals this summer.

Summer Fellows 2

Aubin Vertueux Dzossa Bontse ’27 is majoring in Physics. He grew up in Yaoundé, Cameroon, where he completed his education before coming to Furman University. This summer, Aubin is working as a Climate Resilience Fellow with the Shi Institute. He was drawn to this fellowship by his strong desire to learn the skills necessary for developing and implementing successful resilience strategies. Aubin hopes to use these skills in the future to build resilience in transportation and building infrastructure. In his free time, Aubin loves watching science documentaries, playing video games and listening to music.

Kevin Amon ’26 is studying Anthropology at Furman University and he is this year’s Student Assistant Composting Manager. He is from Pennington, N.J., and has always loved being outside whether he’s hiking or just lounging under a tree. Rooted in this love for nature, his passion for sustainability really took off once he started learning about sustainable food systems and agriculture. Kevin knew a fellowship on the farm would be a perfect opportunity to explore such topics while also enjoying the beauty of the summer weather in Greenville. In his free time, Kevin enjoys playing videos games, hanging out with friends, hiking and trying new varieties of Oreos.

Kate Johnston ’26 is from Davidson, N.C. This summer she’s working as the Wild Hope Farm Fellow in Chester, S.C. She is a Sustainability Science major and has a strong interest in sustainable agriculture. She wanted to take this fellowship opportunity to experience what it’s like to work on a larger farm that incorporates sustainable practices. She loves being outside, collecting vinyl records and thrifting!

Jackie Alvarado ’27 is majoring in Sustainability Science with a minor in Visual Strategy. Originally from Godwin, N.C., she finds joy in nature walks, music, collecting Legos, watching Korean dramas and exploring new places to eat. This summer, she is serving as a Sustainable Education Fellow at Sustaining Way in Greenville. Jackie’s interest in this role stems from her passion for both education and sustainability. She hopes to connect with students to spread the importance of sustainability within communities.

Maggie Kelleher ’26 is from Athens, Ga. and is double-majoring in Sustainability Science and Philosophy. She is working with Project Host this summer, an organization that has a garden, a soup kitchen, and engages in many other beneficial opportunities for the Greenville population. She was interested in this role because Project Host does a lot of good for Greenville’s community and also prioritizes sustainability. Maggie enjoys beekeeping, being outside and thrifting.

Alexandra Valdovinos ‘25 is a Sustainability Science major with a minor in Latin American and LatinX Studies. Alexa is from East Flat Rock, N.C., but her parents are from Jalísco, México, so she’s grown up around mountains her whole life. She is one of the Watershed Conservation Fellows for Friends of the Reedy River. This fellowship provides a wide variety of sustainability-based work, from golf tournament sustainability to educational outreach, something that caught Alexa’s eye when applying for fellowships. Her main hobby is being involved in Furman Bands as a flute and piccolo player. She also enjoys relaxing in hammocks, spending time with friends and family, reading and spending time with her hamster, Mars. She is also an aspiring entrepreneur and has started a sustainable music product business, which helped solidify her love for sustainability.

Kerry Black ’24 of Greenville recently graduated with his B.S. in Sustainability Science. This summer, he is serving as a Watershed Conservation, Development and Outreach Fellow at Friends of the Reedy River with Alexa Valdovinos ‘25. Kerry was interested in this fellowship in part because of his love for and connection to the Reedy River as a Greenville resident. Kerry also enjoys the outreach aspect of the position because it gives him the opportunity to teach children about river science and conservation. It is crucial to introduce these topics at a young age, because as children grow up, they’ll continue to be curious about the natural world and can work to reduce river pollution, he said. Kerry enjoys cooking, hiking and going to concerts in his free time.

Andres Ospina ’24 is from Greenville and is serving as the Sustainability Fellow at Trueline GVL this summer. Andres graduated Furman in May with bachelor’s degrees in Sustainability Science and Philosophy. Andres was drawn to this position as it allows two of his biggest passions, sustainability and music, to converge at once. To be able to assist this venue in fulfilling their vision for a new sustainable music venue right here in downtown Greenville is a privilege and an honor, Andres said. Outside of work and school, his hobbies include spending time outside, playing video games, collecting CDs and hanging out with friends. He also recently got an electric guitar and has been learning how to play. Music is everything to Andres as he said it brings people together in a way that only few other mediums can!