Valentín Cárdenas Alcocer, Universidad Anáhuac Mayab, Mérida, Mexico
Valentín is motivated, dedicated, and inspired around environmental awareness, and a member of Team Altea. He is pursuing an Environmental Engineering degree at the Anáhuac Mayab University in Mérida, Yucatán, but originally from Valladolid, a town known as magical for its tourist attractions and cultural importance. He was inspired to start a climate awareness initiative during high school, after being surprised by the amount of organic waste he generated cooking daily at home. He wondered what he could do with leftovers and discovered a solution in composting. Valentín researched, read, watched videos and taught himself to compost because he was passionate about solving a problem he encountered. Thus began a journey that led him to a career focused on waste management and pollutant remediation. Valentín believes that community action stems from education, and is determined to educate people with a holistic approach to sustainability. During Project Green Challenge, his field of vision widened, as he observed new problems that he too would like to solve. Valentín is determined to undertake a Climate Action Project that generates positive impact.
Five words that describe PGC: Competence, Perseverance, Learning, Inspiration, Wonderful.
Oswego East High School, Oswego, Illinois
A junior attending Oswego East High School, Jensen hopes to fight climate change in their Illinois community. Jensen has been a lifelong environmentalist, participating in cleanups, promoting recycling, and joining school ecology teams. Jensen is also President of the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) group they founded and the leader of the school’s political action club. Before Project Green Challenge, Jensen never realized how their passions for environmentalism, STEM, and politics could align to expand impact. Thanks to Project Green Challenge, Jensen has worked with elected officials and environmental organizations to create change in the community. Jensen is currently working with the Sierra Club to implement recycling at school and organized events like a guest speaker from the Green Party to discuss environmental activism with students. Jensen is also working with the STEM competition group to create inventions to help the environment, including developing an intelligent recycling bin that awards students points for recycling to receive rewards. This will encourage students to recycle when the bins are implemented in the cafeteria.
Five words that describe PGC: Inspirational, Impactful, Visionary, Innovative, Learning.
Grinnell College, Grinnell, Iowa
Corinne is from Saint Louis, Missouri and a first-year student at Grinnell College. She hasn’t declared a major yet, but plans to go into a STEM field. She loves running and currently participates in the cross country team at Grinnell. Her experiences running in nature helped spark her interest in sustainability, alongside her love of birds. She has been inspired by relatives and friends to grow native plants to benefit species like monarch butterflies, and plans to learn more about conservation methods in the future. Corinne initially joined Project Green simply to educate herself on environmental issues, but found the challenges very engaging and enjoyed using her creativity and art to make a difference.
Five words that describe PGC: Intense, Educational, Inspiring, Creative, Encouraging.
Team Hewitt 2024
Skye Hamilton, The Hewitt School, New York, New York
Skye is a junior at The Hewitt School in New York City, and member of Team Hewitt 2024 with Maya Tylis, Isabelle Kless, and Olivia Gee. Skye has been an active participant and leader in her school sustainability and environmental clubs, actions, and programs since middle school and is now the co-head of the upper school earth committee. She is also one of the leading members of The Hewitt School’s sustainability council, a selected group of students who work with all members of the community and advance sustainability in school through data collection and action plans. She has a passion for being outdoors and taking advantage of nature whenever she gets the opportunity. Skye joined Project Green Challenge to develop a greater understanding of the impacts of climate change. From the PGC experience, she has learned that she can apply sustainability to all aspects of life and has learned to transform her knowledge into action.
Five words that describe PGC: Informative, Impactful, Inspiring, Innovative, Substantial.
Jahangirnagar University, Dhaka, Bangladesh
Mahfuzul is a 23-year old student of environmental science at Jahangirnagar University in Bangladesh. He is very passionate about environmental problems and sustainable solutions. Mahfuzul is also a theater artist who likes to perform and direct theatrical productions. In the future, Mahfuzul wants to be an environmental scientist and activist. He will work to reduce pollution and provide a clean, safe, beautiful environment for future generations with the help of science, technology, and the power of knowledge.
Five words that describe PGC: Knowledge, Fun, Consciousness, Resonating, Inspirational.
Team Belmont Eco Club
Elma Jashim, Belmont University, Nashville, Tennessee
Elma is a senior at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee, studying biology with a minor in chemistry. She is proud to represent Belmont Eco Club, where she is President, after participating in Project Green Challenge with her teammates and fellow organization leaders Linnea Lyons, Abigail Marianetti and Lauren Merrill. They are environmental science, biology, and political science students with hopes of incorporating environmentalism into their futures. As an aspiring physician, Elma hopes to serve urban underserved communities through medicine and integrate environmental justice research and advocacy into her practice to best meet the needs of those who experience adverse health effects due to environmental racism. Elma and her teammates entered Project Green Challenge to learn about the environment and actionable steps they can take to make a difference, and got those and more out of the experience.
Five words that describe PGC: Insightful, Challenging, Empowering, Thought-Provoking, Enjoyable.
Team Significant Figures
Rachel Lee, Jericho High School, Jericho, New York
Rachel is a 16-year-old sophomore at Jericho High School in Long Island, New York and member of Team Significant Figures. Rachel has a strong passion for biology and enjoys her science research class. She joined Project Green Challenge along with teammates Sophia Tarasenko, Natalie Tehrani and Samaira Tripathi to take part in an activity benefiting the environment. In her spare time, Rachel enjoys running, playing volleyball, reading and spending time with friends and family. She and her teammates are passionate teenagers who want to raise awareness while taking action to help with environmental issues. As the grade representative of her sophomore class, Rachel will do her best to educate students about the environment while working to make Jericho High School more eco-friendly!
North High School, Torrance, California
Rania is currently a junior at North High School in Torrance, California. She is passionate about native plant species as well as preventing industrial pollution, and hopes to pursue horticulture and/or chemistry in college. At school, she is a leader in Ecology Club, Women’s Empowerment Club, and French Club. As co-activity director of Ecology Club, she is currently working with students on restoring a Torrance local’s lawn to emphasize water conservation. It has been an extensive process, but she is glad to see a number of students involved in something they otherwise wouldn’t have been. She enjoys watching movies, gardening, and language-learning – with a current emphasis on French and Turkish – in her free time.
Five words that describe PGC: Innovative, Unity, Enthralling, Realization, Effective.
University of Technology Sydney, Sydney, Australia
Tahlia is a first-year Australian student studying Environmental Science at the University of Technology, Sydney. For Tahlia, the diverse impacts of climate change mean that there is no one solution and that activism, therefore, can take numerous forms. Her passion for scientific pursuit and communication is her chosen method of activism, where she has developed research on the medical impacts of increased carbon dioxide emissions that won a grand award at the International Science and Engineering Fair in 2022. She hopes to develop research on the intricacies of our ecosystems and help to create solutions that will enable a more holistic relationship and balance of power between humans and nature. Tahlia strongly believes that the most powerful tool in climate activism is effective communication, and would like to pursue her development of communication further in the future. Tahlia is an active individual, competing in gymnastics for many years where she is now heavily involved as a coach and judge. In her spare time, she enjoys seeing family and friends, reading and baking.
Five words that describe PGC: Powerful, Inspiring, Passion, Dedication, Reflective.
Team Green Gurus
Yael Ochoa, Pine Crest School, Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Yael is a high school junior at Pine Crest School in Fort Lauderdale, Florida and member of Team Green Gurus. She has always had a passion for educating others and the environmental impacts of climate change. Prior to joining Project Green Challenge, Yael already knew a lot about eating organic and sustainability, but through this 30-day challenge has learned that there is much more to it! She joined PGC with her two teammates Sophia and Devin because she knew it would help them to learn and make a greater impact in their community.
Five words that describe PGC: Eye-opening, Motivational, Teamwork, Informative, Inspiring.
Team Trio Eco Wizards
Angely Rose, Liger Leadership Academy, Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Angely is a 12th-grade student from Cambodia. She is passionate about leading environmental youth projects that inspire many to join the climate action movement. Her Climate Action Project is to organize a large-scale Cambodia Climate Youth Conference with environmental workshops in order to equip youth with necessary skills and knowledge to tackle climate change and other environmental issues pervading their communities. With specific interest in pollution from the fashion industry, she co-wrote a research paper on this topic that was awarded first-place in the environmental science senior category at the 16th Annual Cambodia STEM Festival, Cambodia. Angely hopes to study public policy and international relations to work towards implementing meaningful environmental sustainability projects across nations in the future.
Five words that describe PGC: Transformative, Enlightening, Dedication, Collaboration, Reflective.
Ema Svobodová, University of Aalborg, Aalborg, Denmark
Ema is a second-year bachelor’s degree student at the Aalborg Universitet, Denmark studying Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology, and member of Team Burrito. She was born on International Women’s Day in 2003 in Ústí nad Labem, Czech Republic and grew up in a heavy industry area of a post-communistic country. When she was twelve, she was admitted to an international project between the Czech Republic and Germany, allowing her to study in a foreign country for six years on a full scholarship. Her hometown inspired her to seek a better way to reimagine heavy industry with Green Chemistry, so she was naturally drawn to the subject of her studies. She is actively seeking sustainability in both her everyday life and future career path. Her hobbies include cooking sustainably, playing the guitar, singing, traveling and reading books. She loves her pet fish named Alpha. Project Green Challenge was an eye-opening journey for her and a great way of educating herself and those who surround her.
Five words that describe PGC: Captivating, Exciting, Sustainable, Just, Future.
Team UB Green
Matthew Taboni, University of Buffalo, Buffalo, New York
Matthew (he/him) is a second year JD/MBA student at the University at Buffalo and member of Team UB Green. Actively involved in his campus and local community, he continues to leave a positive impact through his work as the President and Founder of the University at Buffalo chapter of the Food Recovery Network, Zero Waste Graduate Student Assistant at the Office of Sustainability, and founder of UB’s Food Pantry Blue Table. Matthew has a passion for food justice, advocacy, and social entrepreneurship and is propelled to leave a meaningful impact on the world, Matthew wants to continue to deepen his understanding of justice work being done in the greater Buffalo area.
Five words that describe PGC: Busy, Educational, Inspirational, Impactful, Empowering.
University of Texas Austin, Austin, Texas
Ashley is a college freshman at UT Austin in Texas. She is majoring in Architecture/Architectural Engineering and is very passionate about sustainability and affordable housing. She is really interested in environmental justice and changing the lifestyle of low-income families. She hopes to one day start her own company.
Five words that describe PGC: Hardworking, Dedicated, Enlightening, Open-Minded, Challenging.