ENS Students Shaping our Environmental Future

Ryan Lark, ENS senior, works as a research technician for the Center for Applied Energy Research (CAER). Ryan's work focuses on producing algae in an inexpensive, energy efficient way as well as developing methods for utilizing algae biomass. The research project is primarily focused on marketable products for real-world application.




Rachel Cook, ENS junior, works for the Urban Forestry Initiative (UFI) to advocate for the function, value, and perception of urban forests across Kentucky. Rachel has collaborated to bring awareness to the value of urban forests by helping with successful projects such as Tree Campus USA and Adopt-a-Tree as well as creating a year-long seminar series.



Cassie Odom, ENS junior, works for Lexington's division of air and water quality. Cassie investigates storm water runoff by collecting and testing samples for pollutants across the Lexington area.



Taylor Renfro, ENS senior, works for UK's senior arborist, Stacy Borden. Her work focuses on maintaining the trees on campus by treating against the Emerald Ash Borer and anything else which might be detrimental to the trees' health. Over a short two month period, she has completed over three-hundred root collar excavations on trees across campus. Taylor also is in the process of updating the inventory of over 2,400 trees across campus.




Mackenzie Gibson, ENS sophomore, works for UK's Food Connection. Mackenzie is coordinating a Friday breakfast series where the sustainable agriculture community will come to speak at the E.S. Good Barn about research opportunities within the field.


Lauren Thomas, ENS senior, works for Post-Landfill Action Network (PLAN). PLAN helps college students lead their campuses towards Zero Waste. They teach students how to create move-out programs that salvage leftover goods at the end of the year, to campaign for a plastic-free campus, etc. PLAN also hosts an annual conference, Students for Zero Waste, which connects student leaders, professionals, and activists from across the country to create a network of leaders building a world without waste.


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