Kaitlyn Yonge successfully completed a BSA in Environmental Science from the College of Agriculture and Bioresources, a Certificate in Sustainability from the School of Environment and Sustainability, and an internship with Federated Co-operatives Limited. (Photo: Submitted)

AgBio student thrives in SENS Sustainability Certificate and FCL Internship

Kaitlyn Yonge was the first University of Saskatchewan (USask) student to participate in the Federated Co-operatives Limited (FCL) sustainability internship.

Yonge completed the internship in 2022, before she graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture (majoring in Environmental Science) and a Certificate in Sustainability.

The Certificate in Sustainability is a valuable addition to any undergraduate degree, offering an in-depth understanding of what sustainability is, from foundational principles to practicing sustainability. The certificate is taken concurrently as part of a degree program; students can select a focus area of natural resources, community, or food systems that best aligns with their studies.

Since launching in 2014, students from five different USask colleges and 18 degree programs have completed the certificate. The Certificate in Sustainability is offered by the USask School of Environment and Sustainability (SENS).

As a student studying in the USask College of Agriculture and Bioresources, the certificate was a natural fit for Yonge’s BSA in Environmental Science. Via the certificate, she was eligible to apply for the eight-month paid FCL-SENS internship. This internship provides undergraduate students a unique opportunity to gain hands-on sustainability experience in the industry.

The FCL Sustainability Department works to aid local Co-ops and FCL entities in eliminating waste, reducing emissions, promoting regeneration, and purchasing responsibly. The internship immerses students in the sustainability challenges affecting numerous commodities and sectors of the economy, where creativity and teamwork are highly valued in supporting sustainability initiatives.

“Sustainability is rapidly being integrated into the corporate world,” said Yonge. “This internship has given me the unique opportunity to aid in the development of sustainability projects and practices at FCL, including greenhouse gas emissions calculation, environmental social and governance (ESG) reporting, as well as plastics tracking and reduction.”

“From my internship I’ve had the opportunity to work in and learn about all these areas. The FCL Sustainability Department has supported my professional learning and growth, providing mentorship from the whole team. They invested in seeing me succeed and allowed me to take on learning opportunities that align with my interests.”

Since completing the internship and graduating with her BSA in Environmental Science and Certificate in Sustainability, Yonge has secured full time employment with FCL as a Sustainability Coordinator.

“Seeing a student going from your class one day, to working in the industry just weeks later, to returning to the class the following year with a full-time job having launched her career is a remarkable feeling,” said Dr. Colin Laroque (PhD), department head and professor of Soil Science at USask. Laroque has been an instructor in the Certificate in Sustainability capstone course since its inception in 2014.

“The breadth of the capabilities that Kaitlyn has illustrated, not only in our past class, but to our industry partners, illustrates that the internship is filling a need in the real world with the life lessons gained from the Certificate in Sustainability,” said Laroque.

For more information about how to apply for the internship, or for inquiries about the Certificate in Sustainability, please contact Colin Whitfield (colin.whitfield@usask.ca).