Meet the team behind sustainability initiatives at Penn! Housed in Facilities and Real Estate Services, Penn's Sustainability Office includes Sustainability Director Nina Morris, Sustainability Manager Natalie Walker, and Sustainability Analyst Laura Barron.
Beginning in October 2020, Nina Morris joined the office as the Sustainability Director. Nina is responsible for managing the sustainability staff; tracking and reporting key performance indicators; and providing outreach, education, and collaboration with stakeholders to improve sustainability performance across campus. She also serves as the University’s primary spokesperson regarding sustainability performance and is responsible for compliance with University membership requirements for the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment, the Ivy+ Sustainability Consortium, the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education, and the Global University Leadership Forum’s International Sustainability Campus Network.
Previously, Nina worked for 10 years at the University of Virginia's Office for Sustainability. There, she served as co-chair of the Civic Engagement Subcommittee and helped found and run the Equity & Environment Fund and hosted annual environmental justice events. Nina holds a B.A. in Spanish & Religious Studies from Virginia Commonwealth University and a M.S. in Community and Regional Planning from Temple University. Nina is a LEED Green Associate, certified PROSCI Change Practitioner, and a mother who can be found exploring Philadelphia’s parks and playgrounds during her family time.
Natalie joined the team in 2019 as the Sustainability Manager. She is responsible for managing the Student Eco-Reps program and serves as a point person for the Sustainability Office with the Student Sustainability Association at Penn (SSAP) and Green Labs program. Natalie also manages application review for the Green Fund, facilitates meetings for the Environmental Sustainability Advisory Committee, and co-manages the Student Advisory Group for the Environment (SAGE).
Natalie serves as an adjunct professor for a Design of Green Materials course at Jefferson University. Prior to working with Penn, Natalie led a team to conduct sustainability audits and certifications for products and facilities as the Director of Operations for GreenCircle Certified. She also has experience managing photovoltaic solar projects and Renewable Energy Certificate portfolios as an Assistant Project manager for Urban Grid Solar.
Natalie is both an International Society of Sustainability Professionals Sustainability Associate and a LEED Green Associate. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Sustainable Development with a concentration in Community, Regional, and Global Development from Appalachian State University and a Master of Science in Sustainable Engineering with a concentration in Sustainable Infrastructure and the Built Environment from Villanova University. During her time at Villanova, Natalie worked as an engineering teaching assistant, served on the President’s Environmental Sustainability Committee, and assisted in developing e-learning content. In her free time, you might find Natalie camping, rock climbing, or cooking vegetarian food.
Laura Barron joined the team as Sustainability Analyst in Fall 2021. She manages data, metrics, and reporting for campus sustainability, including producing the annual report and maintaining STARS certification, as well as manages the Green Fund and Green Labs programs. Laura previously worked at University of Pennsylvania as the Program and Communications Manager for the Penn Institute for Urban Research (Penn IUR), managing programs addressing climate change and sustainability in cities and author/co-authoring publications on anchor institutions, community-based disaster planning, urban stormwater, and climate governance in cities. She also worked for Penn’s Center for Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, served on the Penn in Latin American and the Caribbean (PLAC) committee. Before moving to Philadelphia, Laura worked for various non-profits addressing urban food equity and access. She received her Bachelors of Art in Cultural Anthropology and Spanish from Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas and the first Dual Master’s in Environmental Studies and Public Health from the University of Pennsylvania in 2017. She is an International Society of Sustainability Professionals (ISSP) Sustainability Associate. She has lived in Philadelphia for almost a decade and currently lives in Fishtown with her rescue dog and cat, Clementine and Hank.
Austin is the Sustainability Coordinator in the University of Pennsylvania Sustainability Office. Austin focuses on campus outreach programs and events; serves as the main sustainability liaison to student groups; and works to embed sustainability practices through-out everyone’s experience at Penn, these include the PennGreen pre-orientation program, the Green Living Program, Green Office Certification, Staff & Faculty Eco-Rep Program, and Creating Canopy. Austin is also responsible for Penn Sustainability’s communications, working with students to develop content and share across the website and social media platforms.
Previously, Austin worked for a local recycling and waste company, consulting on sustainability and landfill diversion projects. There, he was responsible for supplier emissions reporting as well as identifying new zero waste strategies tailored to each clients’ operations. Prior to that, he worked at the University of South Carolina as their Sustainability Coordinator where he lead the completion and submittal of the university’s comprehensive sustainability report (AASHE’s STARS); managed the office’s financial operations; tracked progress on university sustainability goals; and supervised the Sustainable Carolina Garden program. During his time at USC, he was selected to participate in the Obama Foundation’s inaugural Community Leadership Corp where he started an initiative in Columbia, SC providing Latinx and undocumented high school students and their parents with resources to pursue a higher education after graduating high school. Austin holds a B.A. in Environmental Studies from the University of South Carolina and is a LEED Green Associate. Austin has lived in Philadelphia for two years and in his free time you will likely find him hiking; camping; kayaking; with his two rescue dogs, Lizzie and Willow, in tow.
Graduate Sustainability Intern
Saffron is currently working towards a Master of Environmental Studies degree with a concentration in Climate Resiliency and Adaptation. Prior to Penn, she graduated from Stony Brook University with a degree in Applied Mathematics and a minor in Music. After working in banking for two years, Saffron was inspired to switch her career to help mitigate environmental issues. In her spare time, you can find Saffron at the gym, hiking, or rock climbing.
Graduate Sustainability Intern
Emily (she/they) is a Master of Architecture candidate at Penn's Weitzman School of Design. She earned her BA in design at UC Davis, where she focused her studies on sustainability in the built environment and using design as a form of activism. While at Penn, Emily hopes to further her studies in the intersections between social justice and sustainability as well as community engagement in architecture and design. When Emily isn't working, you can find them practicing pet photography with their cats.
Undergraduate Sustainability Intern
Cory Shin (he/him) is from Atlanta, Georgia, and is studying in the Huntsman Program in International Studies and Business. Previously, he has worked at local, state, and national levels to initiate and coordinate community recycling drives, action projects with NBA players and politicians, and develop a streamlined, COVID-adjusted food pantry distribution process. Cory also serves as a National Advisor for Project Green Schools, helping to foster environmental advocacy and education. He is especially interested in exploring how businesses can drive sustainability and social justice efforts through social impact and responsibility. When not exploring the outdoors, vlogging, or playing trumpet, Cory can be found rooting on Chicago sports.
Undergraduate Sustainability Intern
Ahmed Abdellah is a freshman from Maryland studying in the Vagelos Integrated Program in Energy Research. Previously, he conducted research on bioenergy alternatives such as anaerobic digestion and microbial fuel cells at the University of Maryland. He also developed a proposal to retrofit four of his old county's school buses to run on 100% biodiesel. He is interested in the intersection of business, technology, and entrepreneurship and their roles in sustainability. In his free time, he likes to play soccer, explore new restaurants, and read.
Undergraduate Photography Intern
Kylie Cooper is a senior from Massachusetts studying Communication and Journalistic Writing. After graduation, she hopes to become a photojournalist to share the stories of everyday people and uplift marginalized voices. In her free time, Kylie is usually exploring somewhere new with her camera in hand, trying out new vegan foods, or reading Harry Potter for the umpteenth time.