published 9TH December 2022

Written by Izzy Nobili

Kathy’s Story


Senior studying Mechanical Engineering, minoring in Entrepreneurship & Management 

Sustainability has been a part of Kathy Cao’s Hopkins experience throughout her four years. Now a senior and a three-year intern for the Office of Sustainability, Cao’s work has been constant and impactful.  

Cao’s involvement with the Office began during a pre-orientation sustainability program. Her interest here was piqued, so she remained active in Office events throughout the year. After more programming in the spring, Cao applied for the internship position and began work as early as her sophomore fall.  

Kathy’s Work 

Cao works primarily alongside the lead sustainability analyst at the Office, Agathe Pierot, to track the school’s carbon emissions and strategically plan how the school as an institution can be more sustainable. In her sophomore year, Cao worked with the Dining Program Manager to benchmark the Hopkins dining program and suggest improvements. Cao created a map that displays all outdoor waste receptacles to help eliminate confusion and pinpoint disposal areas, as well.  

In the spring of her junior year, Cao worked on a project related to tracking and analyzing Scope 3 emissions from the university. Currently, she is compiling survey responses from fellow universities in order to understand the sustainable efforts being taken by other institutions.

[Schools] out there [are] doing really great work in the sustainability field, and I would like to see Hopkins become more of a leader.

Kathy Cao

“It is cool to be involved with the Office of Sustainability because it feels like I am really able to make an impact here,” says Cao.  

She hopes to see this impact continue. “A lot of the work I’ve done has been looking at how Hopkins compares to other schools in terms of sustainability,” says Cao. “There are a lot of other schools out there that are doing really great work in the sustainability field, and I would like to see Hopkins become more of a leader.” 

Kathy’s Inspiration 

As Cao looks to her future, she considers a career in sustainability consulting, among others. She values her time with the Office of Sustainability, because she recognizes that a lot of the work that she has done directly meets job requirements and descriptions.  

“Ever since middle school, when you start thinking about what you actually want to do in life, I was kind of drawn [to sustainability],” says Cao. Years later, Cao is answering this calling in full.