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Student Spotlight: Olivia Scott

Pictures of Olivia Scott for AHB Student Spotlight

Olivia Scott just earned her bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies from the University of Washington. She has a rich array of academic experiences that include: developing recommendations for a food innovation district in Tacoma, WA; planning and building of a native garden/outdoor classroom on campus; developing a cup-sharing program designed to reduce single use cup waste on campus cafes; and a study abroad trip to Bangalore, India where she chipped away at Grand Challenges, specifically low-income housing and waste. The above, left photo was taken in Bangalore during the spring celebration of Holi. Olivia looks forward to applying her experiences and knowledge in the professional world to create meaningful and sustainable change.

1.) What motivated you to participate in the Energy Steward program?
When I graduated high school I wanted to be a nurse, but two years into an out-of-state nursing program, I realized that nursing was not for me. I moved home to Snohomish and started to figure out my next move. This is when it occurred to me that I was a life-long lover of the environment. Somewhere in this transition, I learned about the Sustainability Steward Program, although that particular year the focus was energy. It seemed the perfect opportunity to get involved with environmental sustainability – and it was.

2.) What did you enjoy most about becoming or serving as an Energy Steward?
Through the Energy Stewards program I began to grasp the energy system for the first time. I went from knowing to turn off the lights and unplug appliances to knowing that the energy they consume comes from fossil fuels, which are not only a major contributor to climate change, but a finite resource. After completing training, the other stewards and myself presented to local neighborhood associations. We began with the carbon cycle and ended with actions our audience could personally do to save energy. Our information was not always well received, but I felt empowered being able to acknowledge naysayers’ questions with scientific data.

3.) How has being an Energy Steward impacted your interests? 
My experience with the Energy Stewards program solidified my passion for environmental sustainability and prompted me to seek an environmental studies degree. Over the last three years, I dipped my feet in many buckets of sustainability. Today I am most deeply interested in waste reduction and food systems, but I carry my knowledge of energy everywhere I go, including King County. For the past six months, I interned with King County Executive Office to develop a marketing campaign designed to meet an ambitious goal: county-wide residential LED adoption by 2023. I simultaneously conducted research, trying to understand how to remove barriers that disproportionately prevent underserved communities from adopting energy efficiency.

4.) What are your plans for the future?
From experiences through the University of Washington, particularly my internship with King County, I became interested in sustainable behavior change. Energy efficiency is unfortunately not as easy as telling people to adopt LED light bulbs, or even economically incentivizing them. Looking at the larger picture, mitigating climate change requires immense behavior change; virtually the way we do everything must shift. Which means the road ahead is long, but it is also filled with tremendous opportunity. With pockets full of experiences and a degree in hand, I’m ready to get moving.

In the meantime, I will be attending meetings and classes around the region on sustainability, furthering my commitment to a zero waste lifestyle, learning new recipes in the kitchen and exploring new hikes.


Questions or comments? Please connect with me at