About Us

We are a group of three seniors studying Environmental and Sustainability Studies at Carnegie Mellon University through minors, majors, and BXA concentrations.

As an interdisciplinary research group, our Capstone projects cover a wide range of topics surrounding environmental sustainability. Through these topics however, our individual research also explores common themes around responsibility, communication, and art.

We would like to thank Dr. Abigail Owen for being an amazing mentor and for supporting us throughout our research process.

Grace Whipkey

Decision Science

Examining the Impact of Holistic Environmental Knowledge on Behavior

While pursuing my major I have had the opportunity to complete several research projects. However, this capstone has given me the unique ability to explore the intersection between my major, decision science, and my minor, environmental and sustainability studies. It's also allowed me to do this with a topic that truly interests me.

My project attempts to understand why the relationship between environmental knowledge and behavior isn't always as strong as researchers predict.  I hope by analyzing this relationship I am able to suggest to others the best way to promote pro-environmental behavior and, therefore, address climate change.

Grace's Contact Info
  • LinkedIn

Kathy Zhang

Environmental & Sustainability Studies and Art

Convenience and Waste: A Critical Study of Sustainability Opportunities for CMU’s Campus

The importance of interdisciplinarity has been emphasized to me throughout my college career as a student in the university's BHA program. The BHA program meshes the intersection of the arts and humanities. My senior Capstone gave me the opportunity to employ my two concentrations, Environmental & Sustainability Studies and Art, in a tangible research project. Applying my advocacy work within sustainability at CMU to my research has also been a great way to bring all sides of my CMU experience into one cohesive understanding.

My research project began with an analysis of the culture of convenience and how that influences the sustainability of waste management. I then applied this to CMU's own sustainability practices and explored how my art practice could play a significant role in influencing the issues brought up in my paper. My project concludes with an art piece focused on the individualization of responsibility for sustainability at CMU.

Kathy's Contact Info
  • LinkedIn
  • Instagram

Valentina Ortiz De Zárate

Civil and Environmental Engineering

Visualizing an Overflowing Problem: How can images inspire to create solutions to urban environmental challenges

As a senior in civil and environmental engineering, I have had my fair share of technical and STEM-related coursework. This capstone provided an opportunity for me to explore my interests in art and photography, and to complement my studies in engineering. I'm a passionate student striving to make a difference and leave a positive impact on our planet and on others.

I worked on a project that visually highlights an environmental problem I've studied in my engineering classes in an impactful way. My goal is to combine my knowledge of environmental challenges with my photography, to present a project that not only inspires others to take action but myself as well. 

Valen's Contact Info
  • LinkedIn
  • Instagram
Simmons Farm 2018.JPG