City Semester check-in with Alexis Kennedy

We are currently in the middle of another great summer with City Semester Pittsburgh, with six Penn State students living and learning about sustainability in the region. This semester, we have students from four different colleges, including the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences, Eberly College of Science, College of Arts and Architecture, and College of Agricultural Science. Each week, students meet at the Franco Harris Pittsburgh Center, near downtown, for a class on Urban Sustainability and then spend the rest of the week interning with a local community partner. Let’s check in with one of the students!

Alexis headshotName: Alexis Kennedy
College: College of Earth and Mineral Sciences
Major: Geosciences, with a certificate in Earth Sustainability
Expected Graduation: 2025
City Semester Internship: Grounded

What is your role and what are your general responsibilities during this internship?

My role with Grounded is to provide environmental research support for community projects and workdays. A lot of my research has been focused around wildflower planting and looking to the best, most sustainable practices in implementing a wildflower garden.

What does your day-to-day look like?

My day-to-day life depends very much on what I have scheduled for that week, such as workdays or community engagement sessions. However, I will usually start work around 9:00 a.m., with various meetings until the afternoon (ranging from internal to external meetings). I use the last few hours to work on various assigned projects and then head home around 3:00 p.m. 

What has been the most interesting/your favorite part of the program so far?

My favorite part of this experience has been connecting the materials I learned in class to my internship. There is a lot of overlap between my work for Grounded and the topics we discussed in class, such as wastewater management, urban design, etc. Having both educational and hands-on experience that perfectly intertwine is very fulfilling.

What were your first impressions of Pittsburgh?

My first impression of Pittsburgh was how community- and sustainability-oriented the city is. Pittsburgh is one of the global leaders in urban sustainability and green spaces, which is very inspiring and an amazing initiative to be a part of!

What’s your favorite sustainability hack? 

I am all about reuse-reduce-recycle! I love turning old glass bottles into flower vases, pencil holders, and make-up storage, or even just keeping them as reusable cups and bottles.