Office Staff


Cynthia Klein-Banai, Associate Chancellor for Sustainability

Cindy Klein-Banai, Associate Chancellor for SustainabilityCynthia (better known as Cindy) has been serving as the Associate Chancellor for Sustainability at University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) since January 2008. She is thrilled to have the opportunity to found the Office of Sustainability at UIC. Prior to her current position, Cynthia was Assistant Director for Chemical Safety in theEnvironmental Health and Safety Office at UIC for over seven years. There she oversaw environmental compliance, hazardous waste management, the laboratory safety program, and chemical safety training. She has also worked as an environmental consultant. Her university career started at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Division of Environmental Health and Safety where she spent two of her six years there working on a study on pollution prevention in laboratories.

Cynthia has a B.A. in Biology from Washington University in St. Louis and a M.S. in Environmental Science from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. In 2010 Cynthia completed her Ph.D. inEnvironmental and Occupational Health Sciences at UIC. She conducted her research on sustainability metrics for higher education (see “A Greenhouse Gas Inventory as a Measure of Sustainability for an Urban Public Research University“, “An urban university’s ecological footprint and the effect of climate change“, and “Quantitative analysis of factors affecting greenhouse gas emissions at institutions of higher education“).

Cynthia enjoys outdoor activities such as gardening, hiking, and raising hens, especially with her husband and three daughters.

Contact Cindy at or 312-996-3968

Kate Yoshida, Program Coordinator (Grants & Development)

Kate YoshidaKate’s role in the Office of Sustainability focuses on identifying funding opportunities, proposal preparation, grant administration and program development. She completed her Master’s in Urban Planning and Policy at UIC  with concentrations in environmental planning and economic development. She has BSGS in economics from Northwestern University. Kate worked as a commercial real estate underwriter and documentation analyst at a large commercial bank before staying at home with her two sons. Kate also teaches Kundalini yoga and meditation and loves weaving and knitting.


Lisa Sanzenbacher, Program Coordinator (Outreach)

bio_LisaLisa manages outreach activities and marketing materials related to UIC’s sustainability initiatives, frequently presenting to groups around campus about UIC’s sustainability programs.

Lisa completed her Masters in Environmental Management & Sustainability at the Illinois Institute of Technology. After receiving her Bachelor’s of Science in Biological Sciences from UIC, Lisa managed a laboratory in the department of Psychiatry and has co-authored research articles on the topic of neuroendocrinology. She then began work for UIC’s Environmental Health & Safety Office, focusing on energy & waste minimization in research settings. Lisa is a member of the UIC Green Healthcare Team, UIC Chancellor’s Committee on Sustainability and Energy, and the founding member of the UIC Green Labs Committee.

In her free time, Lisa enjoys concocting Nice ‘Stache brews at the home.


Joe Iosbaker, Assistant to the Associate Chancellor

bio_joeJoe has worked for UIC for over 20 years.   He believes that recycling is the responsibility of every person, and works to give more recognition to the unheralded support staff and building service workers for their contributions.  While serving as assistant to the Associate Chancellor, Joe helps coordinate and bring new buildings into the UIC Recycling Program (If your department doesn’t have recycling yet, just ask).

He is married and has two sons.


Sarah Koning, Sustainability Fee Administrator

IMG_0323Sarah is in charge of the UIC Sustainability Fee, which is used to fully fund small, short-term sustainability-related projects, as well as subsidizing larger, long-term projects on campus.


Graduate Students 

Shelby Egan, Graduate Assistant (Outreach & Engagement)


Shelby recently completed her Masters in Urban Planning and Policy at UIC, with a concentration in Environmental Planning. She has a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Arizona, where she studied Regional Development. Before joining the Office of Sustainability, Shelby interned with the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. At the Office of Sustainability, Shelby is assisting with the Chancellor’s Committee on Sustainability and Energy.

Zoë Lukens, Graduate Assistant for the Internship Program

Zoë is pursuing her Master’s in Nursing at UIC.  Her interests include community wellness, primary care and exploring social determinants of health. She has a bachelor’s degree in Anthropology with a minor in African Studies from Beloit College.  Before joining UIC to enter the GEP program she was a grant writer and worked in housing, community development and food systems. She was also a cheesemonger.


Undergraduate Students

Rhea Rashad, Recycling Assistant

Rhea works with the Office of Sustainability to help UIC continue and exceed in their recycling efforts. Rhea is currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Architecture. She has a passion for people’s interaction with the environment and sustaining a good relationship between the two. She hopes to always be an advocate for environmental and sustainable issues no matter where her educational or professional path takes her.

Rhea enjoys drawing, watching movies, and reading in her spare time. She is always up for anything fun and exciting come rain or shine… or snow!

Adali Ramirez, Energy Intern

Adali is a third year student in Chemical Engineering. He helps collect data and calculate our Greenhouse Gas Emissions, track energy usage in Energy Star, and the production of our solar panels.

Johanna Spindola, Communications & Marketing

Johanna is an Art & Design major helping the office with marketing materials and social media communications efforts.

Nina Pellizzari, Great Stuff Exchange Assistant

Nina works to orginize the University’s surplus office and laboratory supplies so that there can be an online marketplace to donate & request free surplus materials and supplies.


The Sustainability Strategic Thinking process interns for 2013 – 2014

Jeff Horwitz, Urban Planning and Public Administration

Ryan Mitchell, Engineering

Agnes Otap, Liberal Arts & Sciences

Sara Ramirez, Architecture & the Arts

Rhea Rashad, Architecture & the Arts

Stephen Tinney, Architecture & the Arts

Jen Zoleta, Architecture & the Arts