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Student Interns

Damian Gregory

Damian Gregory


Hometown: Statesville, NC

Education: Pursuing a Bachelors of Science in Environemntal Science, while obtaining minors in Geology and Environmental Health.

Bio: Damian is extremely passionate for educating, promoting, implementing, and learning all things sustainability. His involvement with sustainability at WCU began in October of 2017 by joining Eco-cats. Shortly after he joined The SEI in January of 2018, afterwards he was appointed the 2018 summer intern for The OSEM. Now, he is the Vice-Chair of the SEI and still an OSEM intern. When he isn’t participating in his internship and club duties, you can usually find him spending time with loved ones in a coffee shop or outside adventuring somewhere.

David Sampler

David Sampler


Hometown: Fuquay Varina, NC.

Education: Wake Technical Community College, A.A. in Science, 2018. Obtaining a B.S. in Environmental Science.

Bio: David is passionate about promoting sustainability and improving environmental quality.  He is excited to help improve sustainability on WCU’s campus through his work with the Office of Sustainability and Energy Management. After graduation in 2020, David plans to work as an environmental consultant focusing on soil and water quality. David is also a volunteer with the campus watershed research project and the Balsam Mountain Nature Center.

Dakota Little

Dakota Little


Hometown:  Jefferson, NC

Education: Geology major with a Hydrology focus

Bio: I'm a senior at WCU pursuing a degree in Geology. I joined OSEM in 2018 as an intern and have also worked with the SEI committee since 2016 and currently Chair the committee. With my passion for sustainability and my degree, I work on research pertaining to Clean Water Act cases. In my free time, I enjoy hiking, fishing, and hanging out with my cat Leia.

Adam Griffin


Adam Griffin

Hometown: Memphis, TN

Education: Pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering

Bio: Adam is a junior at WCU and has been with the SEI Committee since Spring 2017. He was recently appointed Chair of the committee in Spring 2017 as well. He joined the Office of Sustainability and Energy Management in January 2018 as an intern. He has been an active leader at WCU to promote sustainability efforts for the campus community and surrounding county. Adam enjoys birding, fly fishing, hiking, and anything that gets him outdoors.


Katie Allison

Katie Allison


Hometown: Nashville, TN

Education: Pursuing a BS in Environmental Science with minors in Political Science and International Studies

Bio: Katie is a senior at WCU and has been working with OSEM since Summer of 2016. At OSEM, her primary jobs are website editing, project management, and recycling promotion. She also works for the Environmental Science department as a research assistant and "ambassador". She went to Australia spring semester of 2017. Her three favorite things are dogs, policy, and the Clemson Tigers!

Hannah Cothren


Hannah Cothren

Hometown: Greensboro, NC

Education: Pursuing BS in Environmental Science and Geology

Bio: She loves anything outside like rafting, backpacking, caving, and rock climbing. Hannah also works for Basecamp Cullowhee. She is hoping to go to Grad school for geochemistry or paleoenvironments.


Joseph Guseman

Joseph Guseman


Graduated: Fall 2017, B.S. Park and Recreation Management.  Fall 2019, Masters of Project Management 

Current Job: I work within the Office of Work Control at Western Carolina’s Facilities Management. In this position, I assist with a variety of projects and university events such as Mountain Heritage Day.

What did you learn from OSEM: While my time at the Office of Sustainability and Energy Management I learned a lot on what it takes to complete a complex project from start to finish. In this office, I had the opportunity to work on a wide variety of projects, from tailgate recycling to the Electric Vehicle Charging Station. While at WCU, I also had the amazing opportunity to serve as the chair of our Sustainable Energy Initiative. While serving in this position, it was my duty to manage our green fund as well as supervise all our internships, projects, and research endeavors. I also had the amazing opportunity to speak on behalf of the SEI committee on multiple occasions. This position helped provide me with the experience and knowledge of what it takes to manage such a committee.  This office, especially Lauren, also help guide me through some of the hardest moments in my college career. I would not be here today if it was not for my time in the office and the opportunity to work for such an amazing mentor.

Eliza Hurst 



Graduated: Spring 2017, BS. Geology

Current Job: I am the CTNC AmeriCorps member and education outreach coordinator at the Balsam Mountian Trust. I primarily do live animal shows in title one elementary school classrooms to teach about the environment and conservation.

What did you learn from working at OSEM?: 

I learned a lot about the logistics it takes to make a project come to fruition. Wether it was a brick and mortar project or planning an event, it always takes more effort than you think. Having a dedicated mentor, committee, and volunteers make all the difference. This was a very valuable lesson, especially now that I am in a position of planning my own events.

I was also exposed to informal education. When at the OSEM, I enjoyed helping with event planning and public outreach. I didn't know this at the time, but I was doing informal education each time I interacted with the WCU community as the "OSEM intern."  It is not often that you get to speak to an attentive classroom style audience. Communication more often happens in informal settings, but that does not mean that it has less potential to make a difference. I am thankful for the opportunity to do informal education and outreach as it has shaped my career choice (I hope to go into informal environmental education).

Chase Weddle

Chase Weddle


Graduated: May 2016, B.S. Electrical & Computer Engineering Technology

Current Job: I now work for Lockheed Martin.

What did you gain from working with the Office of Sustainability and Energy Management?

While working with the Office of Sustainability & Energy Management, I was able to learn many things. Proper communication, comprehensive planning, and cohesive cooperation were all vital within my role as the project manager for the Electron Garden on the Green, and these elements were all adequately tested throughout my experience. The knowledge gained during my undergraduate career was applied to the real world in a project that holds significance to myself, those I worked with, and Western Carolina University as a whole. This I am very thankful for. I would encourage anyone with a passion for improving our campus to contact Lauren Bishop or the Sustainable Energy Initiative to learn how he or she can contribute to the betterment of the university.

Zack Waldroup

Zack Waldroup


Graduated: May 2016, B.S. Environmental Science

Current Job: I am currently an Environmental Compliance Specialist for Veolia Water Technologies.

Do you have any advice for future interns?

My words of advice are to get involved with everything OSEM has going on. They dabble in so many different sustainability projects on campus. Even if it's something you don't think you would be interested in, if you have the time, do it. Take it all in as an experience. For example, when Lauren came to me and asked for me to aid her in working on a project that dealt with composting human bodies, I was skeptical to say the least. However, through the OSEM I was able to help with The Urban Death Project and it was one of the coolest learning experiences I've had. Definitely worth going WAY outside my comfort zone.

Audra Begg



Graduated: December 2013, College Student Personnel, M.Ed.

Current Job: I am currently working as a Workplace Learning Coordinator at Central Piedmont Community College, Charlotte, NC. I am also President of CPCC’s Toastmaster’s Club.

What did you get from your experience with OSEM?

What I learned during my time with the Sustainability office may be cliché but proved true for me: “Timing is everything” and when you are passionate about a project, it isn’t “work”. I was grateful for the foundational groundwork laid by Lauren and the previous students who worked on the SEI initiative, because it paved the way for my efforts to market it and garner the necessary support that ultimately helped get it passed and approved.

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