ISD Welcomes New Green Plus Graduate Assistants


The Institute is pleased to introduce our 2011 Green Plus Graduate Assistants, including Ryan Donnelly, from the Fuqua School of Business; George Kataoka from the Nicholas School of the Environment; Jessica Lab, also from the Nicholas School of the Environment; and Jacob Widlitz from the Sanford School of Public Policy.

Each year, the Institute for Sustainable Development engages full time Fellows during the summer months and part time graduate assistants during the academic year. Over the course of 2010/2011, 35 graduate and undergraduates from Case Western Reserve (OH), Coastal Carolinas (SC), Duke, Elon, North Carolina State, Syracuse universities and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill helped Green Plus businesses in a dozen states with their sustainability plans. 

This fall, Fellows will be conducting research and developing new sustainability resources for small business, including the Green Plus Nuts and Bolts guide.  The Assistantships will continue into the Spring academic semester, where Assistants will assist Green Plus in continuing an impact assessment project started by a former Green Plus Fellow in the Spring of 2010.

“We are grateful to our Graduate Assistants as they help our Green Plus smaller enterprises to become more competitive through sustainable business practices,” said Chris Carmody, Executive Director of the Institute for Sustainable Development.  “They are a part of building a new, sustainable American economy,” Carmody concluded.

We’re happy to have Ryan, George, Jessica and Jacob join the Green Plus Team during this academic year.

Ryan Donnelly

Ryan graduated from UC Berkeley in 2006 with a BA in English. Staying in the area, he worked in production at Pixar Animation Studios, before joining the Peace Corps and heading to Mongolia (2008-2010). In the small town of Hatgal, Ryan taught English and computer education. He was the first volunteer in the country to work extensively with One Laptop Per Child, and eventually raised money to begin new computer-education courses at the local school. In 2010 he moved to Lao PDR to work for Digital Divide Data, a not-for-profit social enterprise in SE Asia. DDD hires and trains disadvantaged young people to work on digitization projects and back office support. Ryan is currently a 2013 MBA candidate at Duke’s Fuqua School of Business, where he plans to study non-profit management, sustainable energy practices, and social enterprise.

George Kataoka

George is a graduate of the class of 2010 from Soka University of America, a private liberal arts university in Southern California.  He gained experience with recycling, resource management, and zero waste from an internship with Earth Resource Foundation, an environmental educational non-profit organization, and a CRRA (California Resource Recovery Association) professional certification program in recycling and resource management.  Currently, he is studying for a master’s degree in environmentalmanagement (concentrating in energy) at the Nicholas School of the Environment at Duke University.

Jessica Lab

Jessica is a graduate student at Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment.  She is concentrating in Environmental Economics and Policy and is interested in sustainability, land use planning, and the interaction between natural science, policy, and economics.  She is a native Floridian and graduated from the University of Central Florida in 2010. 

Jacob Widlitz

Jacob is a 2012 candidate for a Master of Public Policy from the Sanford School at Duke University focusing on health policy and environmental sustainability. Jacob earned his B.A. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from Cornell University.  Upon graduation from Cornell, Jacob joined the United States Peace Corps where he served as a math and biology teacher in rural Tanzania, Africa.

The Institute interviews for Graduate Assistant positions at the beginning of each semester, and in the spring for summer Green Plus Fellowships. Assistantships are for credit, by arrangement with our university partners. Summer Fellowships are paid work. To inquire about a position, please email 

The Institute for Sustainable Development / Green Plus

We educate, motivate, and recognize smaller enterprises for their efforts towards becoming more sustainable. We’re here to offer tangible, practical tips and expertise in sustainability.
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