The USGBC-LA Green Building Corps (GBC) is a structured internship program that provides participants with valuable experience, relationships, and opportunities to contribute to green building projects with the goal to make the greater Los Angeles region healthier, more affordable, and sustainable for all.
Participants provide project support for the USGBC-LA Annual Legacy Project, Green Schools microgrant projects, California Native Plant Landscape Curriculum, as well as other chapter programs, and member groups. Additionally, green building projects are sourced across architecture, engineering, and construction firms as well as sustainability consultants, public agencies, and community partners. The intent is for these projects to provide a public or community benefit, allowing those seeking opportunities to gain experience, build relationships, and better position themselves for future employment.
*GBC Members commit to a minimum six-month term of 10–20 hours per week, on a volunteer basis.
By joining the Green Building Corps you will:
- Be matched with a mentor from our Mentor Network (either in-person or virtually) to focus further on their individualized career development
- Be provided with FREE USGBC-LA memberships and access to all our training sessions, recorded content, and events at no cost whenever possible
- Receive a certificate of completion upon the successful conclusion of the program
Download The Brochure!
Download The Brochure!
Learn more information on our Green Building Corps Hourly Packages!
Green Building Corps Members
The author Pearl Zhu said, “Critical thinking narrows, and creative thinking expands, but they must work in tandem for problem solving and decision making”. As someone addressing the vast and ever-changing field of sustainability, I embrace the challenge of working with a diverse group of thinkers to address our worlds most pressing concern, climate change. As a sustainability student, and as someone who has worked in cross-functional teams in small businesses, I am practical, passionate, and patient. My thirst for knowledge and my compassion for others drives me to continue to think both critically and creatively. Whether it’s working on LCA’s, creating tailored sustainability audits, or preparing and delivering persuasive presentations, I have a mixture of competences that makes me an asset when it comes to making the business case for sustainability. When I am not working or volunteering, I enjoy spending time traveling and networking out side of my comfort zone, because I love learning about experiences outside of my own.
Ben is a first-year student at Pomona College in Claremont hoping to major in Environmental Analysis and Public Policy. He is still trying to figure out his path in sustainability, but is eager to explore his passions of social working, writing, and researching for a green cause. Growing up in Altadena, California, Ben has always been aware and fearful of the looming threat of wildfires, so one particular interest of his is to research, educate, and inform about proper fire safety and risk management. He hopes to further explore these passions with the Green Building Corps, applying them to different contexts like social action and policy.
Melody Cade is originally from Indiana. She has lived in LA for over 10 years. Melody has made her career in Project Management and Operations. For roughly 6 years she has acted as a Project Manager in distribution and tech. She has also worked in media Operations. Her interests within the sustainability fields are focused in building out sustainable infrastructure and EV technology.
Heather is a fourth year student at Loyola Marymount University pursuing her degree in Environmental Studies. She felt a calling to directly address the climate crisis and soon obtained a job with Greenpeace Los Angeles where she gained her first experience in progressive climate action, campaign organizing, and community outreach. After working as a lead at Philz Coffee, Heather later acquired a fellowship through the Civilian Climate Action Corps with a particular interest in food waste. She worked with the City of Los Angeles Sanitation and Environment to research the city’s food recovery capacity as it related to SB 1383 and connected hundreds of food generators with food recovery organizations and services. She now continues her work with Community Organized Relief Efforts (CORE) for COVID-19 relief as well as facilitation support of the LA Food Bank. Heather’s passion for environmental justice also extends through her membership on the onboarding team of the Sunrise Movement where she recruits and leads new members through the Los Angeles chapter’s campaign efforts. Heather loves everything she is discovering about her field of choice and hopes to continue reaching new heights in making meaningful change wherever and however she can.
PhD candidate in Mechanical Engineering from UCLA, my research involve the product development of sustainable transparent and thermally insulating ambigels. Currently I’m investigating the energy-conservation applications of Mesoporous Silica Aerogels as window solutions. I’m partnering with companies such as Cardinal Glass and the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) to build a scale-up strategy for commercializing aerogels for window solutions. Prior to my PhD, I was working in an engineering consulting firm (KEO), I honed my skills in developing detailed HVAC designs, while attending on-site investigations and actively participating in project and client meetings. The project I’m most proud of is leading the HVAC system design of the engineering building at GUST University in Kuwait. My passion alongside my vision for my career is to primarily focus on green design, building decarbonization, and energy efficiency related projects that work towards climate change mitigation. Sustainability is a true passion of mine and an engineer who isn’t looking into the future with a sustainable and green lens is at a high risk of irrelevancy.
Shaellen Franco is a South Los Angeles native with strong ties to sustainable design and environmental advocacy. She graduated from Allegheny College with A B.S in Environmental Science and Sustainability. During her undergraduate studies at Allegheny College, she co-founded the Green Students of Color Society, an equity and inclusion group dedicated to addressing barriers to sustainability present within communities of color. developed over 40 multi-organizational programs and events to provide actionable steps and supplemental education to support students of color facing barriers to STEM. Throughout her highschool and collegiate years, Shaellen amassed 5 years experience with LEED, SITES and ENVISION certifications for a number of projects in the Greater Los Angeles area for the architecture firm, Gruen Associates. Shaellen also developed the firm’s Sustainability Action Plan to confirm Gruen’s participation in the time-critical, sustainability initiative, the AIA 2030 Commitment. In her work at the South Los Angeles Transit Empowerment Zone, Shaellen manages the operations of one of SLATE-Z’s 5 place-based workgroups to mobilize community members and non-profit entities towards revitalizing transit in South Los Angeles. As the Transit Workgroup Manager, she leads various initiatives and projects central to improving access to affordable transit, advocating for improvements around transportation infrastructure, and engaging the community around safe routes and proper use of infrastructure. Today, Shaellen looks forward to beginning her Master’s program at UCLA’s Urban and Regional Planning Program with a concentration in Transportation Planning and Policy and Community Economic Development and Housing.
Gigi is a junior majoring in Environmental Studies and Spatial Studies minor at UC Santa Barbara. She is currently the Carbon Neutrality Initiatives Ambassador at UCSB focusing on raising awareness, increasing communication and collaboration between students and campus administration on climate justice, climate neutrality, sustainability, transportation, carbon offsets, and climate resilience issues. Her experience in preparing a professional talk regarding the rating system of LEED made her realize that her passion lay in green building. During the process of investigating the topic, she discovered developing green buildings cannot only support all humanity in achieving a sustainable and resilient future through its positive effects in mitigating climate change. Her past work experience includes working as a sustainability specialist intern at Nextracker, a solar-tracking solutions company, where she learned about different sustainability standards and executing sustainability risk analysis reports and drafting documents for EHS. Gigi hopes to continue to develop her professional career in the field of sustainability in green building consulting in the future!
Tamsyn is a LEED AP, WELL AP and TRUE Advisor with over ten years of experience in environmental consulting and sustainable resource management. Areas of particular interest include the relationships between the built environment and natural systems. Tamsyn is dedicated to working creatively with others to solve urban development challenges with focus on the environment, human health and wellbeing of communities. She holds a degree in Environmental Engineering from Syracuse University.
Ingrid was born and raised in Pico-Union, Los Angeles, CA. In 2020, she received her Neuroscience B.S degree from the University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC). Aside from her studies, Ingrid was also introduced to sustainability at UCSC through graphic design projects, writing classes, and the university’s zero waste goal. Upon graduating, Ingrid knew she wanted to make sustainability more accessible in her community. She believed great collaborative design could really help communities achieve sustainability goals and improve their quality of life in LA. Her interests in design, cognitive neuroscience, and the built environment lead her to USGBC-LA where she hopes to meet and learn from people who are actively pushing sustainability design projects in Los Angeles.
Lydia Olivier is a fourth generation Angeleno who has just graduated with a master’s degree in Regenerative Studies from the Lyle Center of Regenerative Studies at Cal Poly Pomona. She has a certificate as a LEED AP BD+C, a professional degree in architecture, and hopes to continue her research in academia or in a science based approach in a research firm on regenerative and restorative practices in the building and urban planning sectors. She also volunteers her time as board chair to the Garden School Foundation, a non-profit who serves seven schools in LAUSD and teaches garden education and a Seed to Table curriculum. Lydia spends most of her social time in her California native and community gardens and playing competitive tennis in USTA. She hopes to be involved with USGBC committees and initiatives that build on social equity and environmental resilience for communities impacted by the effects of climate change in the urban built environment.
Cheng Peng is a Master of Urban Planning student at the University of Southern California Price School with a concentration in Design of the Built Environment and pursuing a Certificate in Sustainable Policy and Planning. During her undergraduate time, Cheng received a Bachelor of Engineering Degree at China Agricultural University, majoring in Agricultural Structure, Environment and Energy Engineering, which aroused her interests in environmental planning and landscape architecture. She is always willing to learn and practice. In the future, Cheng hopes to be exposed to more knowledge and strategies about urban landscape development, taking part in projects and making some impact to communities to better people’s living conditions around the world. At school, Cheng is a student assistant of Price School Global Engagement Office, helping organize and advertise events, run social media accounts, and communicate with Price international students and scholars.When she is not glued to school and work, Cheng enjoys travel and photography, basketball, and tennis.
Saira received her Bachelor of Science degree in Anthropology with a minor in Film, Television, and Digital Media from UCLA and has lived in Los Angeles for the past 7 years. With a professional background in marketing and advertising and a deeply rooted passion for sustainability, Saira’s interests lie at the nexus of media and communications, environmental and climate justice, and urban planning and policy. As part of USGBC-LA’s Green Building Corps, Saira is involved in the Green Affordable Housing, Wildfire Defense Education, Green Schools, and Member Development and Engagement projects.
Beryl is a newcomer to Los Angeles with a cross-functional background in environmental management and geographic analysis. She is committed to advancing a just transition through climate adaptation and local mitigation strategies. Prior to graduate school, she managed operations at the High Line, an elevated infrastructure reuse project and public park in New York City. Her interests include participatory planning, the water-energy nexus, sustainable food systems, and the politics of maintenance. She is a LEED Green Associate with a certificate in GIS and Design from Pratt Institute, and she holds an MPA in Environmental Science and Policy from Columbia University and an undergraduate degree in philosophy.
Pearl Sungkamee currently attends Cal Poly Pomona for Urban and Regional Planning and is minoring in Regenerative Studies. Since transferring from Pasadena City College to Cal Poly Pomona in Fall 2021, she has been involved in all aspects of sustainability on campus, such as serving as the Outreach Chair for Student’s for a Sustainable Future, Vice President of Internal Affairs for the Student Sustainability Coalition, and Student-at-large for Student Government’s Sustainability Committee. She is currently working as a Sustainability Technical Assistant for Cal Poly Pomona’s Sustainability Office on projects such as the Fair Trade Campaign, Tree Campus USA, and Community Compost. She is particularly interested in sustainable architecture and increasing accessibility to housing/transportation for low income communities, which she hopes to learn more about during her time as an intern at USGBC LA. Her goal is to be able to incorporate sustainable practices and concepts in her professional career. In her free time, she loves to cook, travel, and take her dog to the park!
Megan Wang was born and raised in Los Angeles, California. She is currently a second year undergraduate at the University of Southern California with a major in Architecture and a minor in Health Innovation. She is always looking for opportunities to expand her knowledge on sustainable architecture solutions, while exploring the intersection of health and architecture. This past summer, she was involved in research on sustainable building materials and methods. Outside of architecture, Megan enjoys sharing her knowledge with others and she currently volunteers as an academic mentor. She is also involved in USC’s Habitat for Humanity, which helps provide housing to low-income families in the Greater Los Angeles area. In her free time, she loves to play with her cats, watch movies, and go to concerts. Megan is excited to be a contributing member of USGBC and hopes to learn more about creating a sustainability plan that is centered around environmental justice.
Kim is a recent graduate from Claremont McKenna College, where she studied Environment, Economics, and Politics, with a minor in Public Policy. Her past work includes working at environmental non-profits such as Grassroots Ecology in Palo Alto, where she worked on restoration projects and translating environmental lesson plans. In school, she worked at the Roberts Environmental Center completing four year-long research projects on the Energy and Conservation Teams. After working at Forterra in Seattle through the Doris Duke Conservation Scholars Program, she realized her love for intersectional environmentalism projects where she worked on policy recommendations for agricultural land access, community building and engagement, and state support for black farmers. Kim hopes to continue exploring equitable and sustainable solutions for a variety of environmental issues through the Green Building Corps.