Sustainability Challenge 2023

Sustainability Challenge 2023

For the 2022-23 academic year, SGAP Leaders adapted our Sustainability Challenge from a 1-day in-person activity to a longitudinal hybrid model which included a 8 week climate action clinics with virtual guest speakers and in-person and virtual facilitator. Our program implemented a series of 8 sessions, each lasting .1 – 1.5  hours per week.  The hybrid sessions utilized a combination of large group and fun, interactive small group activities that addressed Climate (In)Justice, Carbon Footprint, Food Waste, Solar Energy, Transportation, Climate Advocacy, and Hone Your Presentation Skills.

Net Zero Carbon case study prepared students for the final Challenge activity: a 5-hour Sustainability Challenge workshop hosted at the Catholic University – School of Engineering. 

The hybrid program is designed to preserve the critical elements of the Sustainability Challenge that distinguish this signature SGAP Leaders program:

  • High level of student engagement
  • Interactive small groups and teamwork
  • Real-world applications of critical analysis and problem solving
  • 21st century skill development (critical thinking, collaboration, problem solving & empathy building)
  • Access to diverse professionals working in STEM-related fields


Friday, January 20, 2023
8:30am – 2:00pm


The Catholic University of America

Pryzbyla Center Rooms 321, 323 and
Pangborn – School of Engineering (2nd floor)
620 Michigan Ave,
NE, Washington DC 20064

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“I learned about all the ways every item or action I (we) do has a carbon footprint. One thing I can do now is just be more green with my life.”
Rosemarie S.
9th grade, LTI - J. F. Kennedy High School
“It (the Climate Change Curriculum & Sustainability Challenge Workshop)taught me how to focus and summarize numbers and big ideas.”
Ricardo S.
9th grade, LTI - J. F. Kennedy High School
“The (Sustainability Challenge)workshop made me look and study careers in environmental justice.”
Samriddi B.
9th grade, LTI - J. F. Kennedy High School


Event Location & Directions

Pryzbyla Center  –  # 32 on the map
Pangborn  –  #34 on the map
Columbus Law School  –  #30 on the map (parking) – 3600 John McCormack Rd. NE, Washington DC

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There is significant construction near Pangborn Building and the entrance is blocked by construction.

We recommend that attendees park on McCormack Street (one way) near the Law School (#30 – underground paid parking lot option). The Pryzbyla Center is behind the Law School.

Another option is metered parking in front of the Mullen Library and University Mall. The campus meters are currently in effect from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday – Saturday. The cost to park at the meters is $2/hour for a maximum of 3 hours. Major credit cards and bills in $1 and $5 denominations are accepted.

Parking Label Colors:

  • Sky Blue – Metered parking

  • Red – Admission visitor parking

  • Navy Blue – Guest permit required

Please complete the Admission Visitor Parking Form to register.

Sustainability Challenge Workshop Agenda

Updated Schedule (below)

08:30 AM – Students Arrive / Check-In (Name Badges)
08:45 AM – Continental Breakfast (Pre-Workshop Survey)
09:00 AM –
Welcome Remarks – Dean John Judge, School of Engineering
Michele Joseph, CEO, Student Global Ambassador Program
Otto Wilson, Ph.D., Associate Professor,School Engineering (Biomedical)

09:20 AM –  Subject Matter Expert – Introduction 

9:30 AM – 9:40 AM Walk to Pangborn 2nd Floor (Access Computers)

9:45 AM – Overview of Challenge
10:10 AM – Work in Groups of 4-5 with Facilitators/Practice Presentations

11:45 AM – 11:55 AM Walk to Pryzbyla Center room 321, 323

12:00 PM – Working Lunch
12:30 PM – Group Presentations
01:00 PM – Group Evaluations, Judges deliberate
01:30 PM – Feedback, Awards, Wrap- up
02:00 PM – Students Depart

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UCES Leadership Team

Rochelle Rollins, PhD, MPH

Rochelle Rollins, PhD, MPH

Dr. Rochelle Rollins is a Senior Policy Advisor in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). For over 25 years she has worked at the local, state, and federal level on health care and social service issues related to vulnerable populations and the social determinates of health. Within HHS, she has led work on cancer health disparities, Healthy People, the prevention of human trafficking, and oral health. Dr. Rollins co-led the effort for oral health to be one of the 12 Leading Health Indicators in Healthy People 2020. She has been a member of the HHS Oral Health Coordinating Committee for over a decade.

In the HHS Office of Minority Health, as the Director of the Division of Policy and Data, Dr. Rollins led efforts to improve health disparities research coordination, performance measurement, and data collection. Her previous position was Special Assistant to the Deputy Director of the National Cancer Institute where she co-chaired the HHS Health Disparities Council’s Subcommittee on Cancer.

Dr. Rollins received her Bachelor of Science from Wellesley College, her Master of Public Health from Boston University, and her doctorate from Brandeis University’s Heller School for Social Policy and Management where she was a Pew health policy fellow.

Jane Culkin, Highland Electrical fleet

Jane Culkin - Highland Electrical Fleets

Jane is a clean energy and climate change expert who is currently the Western Regional Manager of Market Development at Highland Electric Fleets where she supports school districts to understand how best to electrify their fleet.

This includes community organizing, mass market education, policy advocacy, and major account political support as well as engaging with utilities, regulators, and legislators around existing and potential future programs designed to support electric school buses.

Vivian Ebisike

Vivian Ebisike, CEO of Stand Up Global, Inc.

Vivian Ebisike is a graduate of the University of Maryland, College Park. While there, she majored in Criminology and Criminal Justice with a minor in Nonprofit Leadership and Social Innovation.

She is also the CEO of Stand Up Global Inc (DBA Stand Up), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that mobilizes students to be civically engaged in the Washington DC area through education, empowerment, and entrepreneurship. For more information, visit

Otto Wilson, PhD

Otto Wilson, PhD

Dr. Otto C. Wilson Jr. is an Associate Professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at the Catholic University of America. Dr. Wilson earned a B.S. (1988), M.S. (1991) and Ph.D. in Ceramic Science and Engineering at Rutgers University. He conducted postdoctoral research at the University of Maryland on enhanced machinability of dental ceramic materials (1995-1996) and was a Ford Foundation Postdoctoral fellow at Johns Hopkins in 1996 prior to joining the Materials Science and Engineering faculty at the University of Maryland, College Park.

Dr. Wilson became a faculty member in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Catholic University in 2003 and established the Biomimetics, Orthopedics, and Nanomaterials Education/Composite Research for Advanced Biomaterials (BONE/CRAB) Lab. The research vision of the BONE/CRAB Lab is to develop nanophase materials to enhance the healing and remodeling of hard tissue at the whole tissue, cellular, and subcellular levels. Dr. Wilson’s research Interests include biomineralization phenomena, nanomaterials chemistry, biological liquid crystals, and the synthesis and surface modification of hydroxyapatite.

Dr Wilson was awarded a NSF CAREER Award (DMR-0645675) in 2007 for his work involving bone inspiration in research and education. He is very active in K-12 educational outreach and developing tools and teaching methodologies to encourage young people to excel in STEM education.