Meet our summer 2024 interns!

We have welcomed our 2024 summer interns to the team and are thrilled to have them help support our work over the next few months. They are working on a variety of projects throughout the summer within our Program and Communication departments. Read on to get to know more about each of them.

Hi there! My name is Bella Swanson. I am a rising junior at UNC Charlotte, where I just completed my first year in the architecture program. I am originally from Winston-Salem but I have lots of family in Charlotte. I’m majoring in Architecture with the intended minor of Architectural History and Heritage.  

As a student of Architecture, I am excited to get this experience in urban design by working with Sustain Charlotte this summer. I have always had an interest in sustainable practices. This is something I want to incorporate within my own future designs. I chose this internship because of the organization’s initiatives to improve transportation infrastructure and to continue learning about environmental justice. I will be working to complete a variety of marketing and communication projects, including creating infographics, editing videos, and managing the Sustain Charlotte website. 

My hobbies include going to the lake, skiing, drawing, and hanging out with friends. I am excited to work with Sustain Charlotte this summer! 

Hi, I’m Julia Murray, a recent graduate from Appalachian State University with a Bachelor of Science in Sustainable Development. During my academic career I was the Sustainable Purchasing Intern of the Office of Sustainability at App State. In this role I enjoyed researching new ways our university could transition to purchasing more sustainable products from Historically Underutilized Businesses (HUBs). In addition, I was an Executive Board member of the Asian Student Association.

Joining Sustain Charlotte is thrilling for me, especially as a Charlotte native witnessing the city’s growth alongside my own. I am passionate about improving equity and equality in communities through sustainable principles. Sustain Charlotte mobilizes smart growth principles that enhance the quality of life for everyone, regardless of age, ability, income, or race. This deeply resonates with me. I am overjoyed to embark on a career where I can contribute to my community’s well-being and the betterment of future generations by advocating and educating others on environmental concerns and addressing social disparities.

This summer I will be working alongside the programming team to develop and plan educational events and volunteer opportunities. I am looking forward to growing my skill set in project management and outreach.

Hello, I am Christopher Wawak. I have just graduated from Appalachian State University and am looking to start my career in the nonprofit sector. I received a bachelor’s in public administration with a minor in business. Over the course of my studies, I have become extremely interested in the sustainability of urban environments.  

I grew up in Charlotte, so I understand challenges around the city and how many are rooted in development. During college, I have become very acquainted with local politics and interacting with communities, and I hope to bring a new perspective to the sustainability field and help tackle the big issues facing Charlotte and its residents. 

I am very excited about this opportunity as I have been immersing myself in local government for years and enjoy seeing how the city’s planning process works. During this internship, I will be working on setting up events to educate people on the importance of mixed-use development and other critical land-use issues.


Hello! I’m Andre Phillips, a rising junior and English major at Davidson College. Although I’ve found myself all the way down in North Carolina for college, I’m from Northeast PA (or Pennsylvania for those who aren’t from there). I live in a town now, but the place where I grew up can’t really be called a town, because you had to drive half an hour to get anywhere. When you look it up, it’s called an “unincorporated community” but I don’t think that’s a fitting term either. 

At Davidson, I play bassoon in the orchestra and am on the ultimate frisbee team. I also work as a student employee for the Sustainability Office, and I also serve on the Town of Davidson Sustainability Committee. Because of how hard it was figuring out how to get around where I grew up – and because I love biking – I often find myself talking to people at the office or on the committee about transportation. During those conversations, I have noticed that another topic always seemed to drive its way in there: community. 

But what does community have to do with transportation? Well, to me, community is when we get together; transportation is how we get around. You can’t get together if you can’t get around; and you can’t get around if you can’t get together to make the plans on how to get around. Community and transportation sustain each other, so we need them both if we want to sustain ourselves. 

And we need them both if we want to sustain Charlotte. Now I have the chance to support transportation and the community by writing more blog posts like this one and compiling the points of view of community members who use alternative transportation. I’m looking forward to a summer of smart growth. 

We grow when we get around. We grow smart when we get together.