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The Dow Sustainability Fellows Program, administered by the Graham Sustainability Institute, will award over $800,000 in tuition and project funding in 2023. The funds will support more than 40 outstanding graduate students from ten University of Michigan (U-M) schools, colleges, and units, including two large student projects funded by Dow Distinguished Awards.

Each Dow Sustainability Fellow will receive a $20,000 stipend, along with supplementary project funding, sustainability professional development opportunities, and practical experience working on a team with an external organizational partner. The two Distinguished Awards teams will receive funding to explore circular agricultural nutrient systems across Michigan and to advance green stormwater management infrastructure in Detroit, respectively.

Since the Program’s inception, over $12 million has been awarded in tuition support, with five schools receiving more than $1 million each. Now in its eleventh cycle, the Fellows Program is designed to support the next generation of sustainability leaders in business, government, and nonprofits by promoting interdisciplinary and collaborative engagement. Fellows are selected through a competitive process from a pool of applicants nominated by their academic units. This cohort will participate in the program through December 2023.

The 2023 Dow Fellows and their nominating schools (in bold) are listed below. Among this cohort, seven Fellows are dual majors, indicated in parentheses.

  • Architecture & Urban Planning: Brianna Bartelt, Izzy Beshouri, Natalie DeLiso, Emily Huhman, Revati Thatte, Griffin Sproul
  • Business: Nikunj Bhimsaria, Aaron Friedman-Heiman (SEAS), Victoria Jenkins (SEAS), Jacob Kennedy, Parrish Madison
  • Dentistry: Ray Jackson
  • Engineering: Kira Edwards
  • Environment & Sustainability: Emily Alexander, Sanya Bery, Nivedita Biswal, Gahyun Lee, Gautam Mathur, Taylor McKenzie, Brooke Troxell (Architecture & Urban Planning)
  • Law: Justine Glubis, Adina Nadler
  • Medicine: Jacqueline Lewy, Kinsey Vear (Public Health)
  • Public Health: Michael Akpabey, Rebecca Beilinson (SEAS), Qiqi Chen, Maya Cote
  • Public Policy: Riya Cherian, Charles Collins, Audrey Dombro, Jared Mandelbaum (SEAS), Yuer Wang (SEAS) 

Distinguished Award Funds Support Two Teams

In addition to funds awarded to the Dow Fellows cohort, two teams of student researchers will receive funding totaling $60,000 through the Dow Distinguished Awards competition, designed to foster interdisciplinary collaboration and engaged learning at the graduate level.

Project team one, Advancing Sustainable and Equitable Agrifood Systems in Michigan: Scenario Analysis of Multiple Approaches to Circularize the Nutrient Economy, will examine how circular nutrient systems—a bold alternative to the status quo—could minimize ecosystem degradation, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, increase self-sufficiency in the agrifood system, and ultimately ensure a sustainable, equitable, and secure food system. The team will conduct a nutrient flow analysis to quantify the major nutrient flows (N, P, and C) for the lower 50 counties in Michigan, comparing business-as-usual conditions to scenarios employing nutrient recovery approaches.

U-M team:
  • Architecture & Urban Planning: Sarah Dobie, Lesli Hoey (faculty advisor) Lanika Sanders
  • Engineering: Lucinda Li, Nancy Love (faculty advisor), Joseph Lybik
  • Environment & Sustainability: Jennifer Blesh (faculty advisor), Will Brinkerhoff (student leader)
Project partner:
  • Renee Wallace, Executive Director, Food PLUS Detroit

Project team two, Pursuing Long-Term Sustainability of Green Infrastructure From Social and Economic Perspectives, will identify major social and economic factors that affect green infrastructure performance, investigate associations between these factors and hydrological performance with a multilevel logistic regression model, and develop a behavior experiment model to examine public acceptance and willingness to install and maintain green infrastructure under different scenarios of stormwater policy. Based on this work, the team will suggest policy guidelines to promote the longterm sustainability of green infrastructure.

U-M team:
  • Architecture & Urban Planning: Lingxiao Du
  • Environment & Sustainability: Jianxing Guan (student leader), Runzi Wang (faculty advisor), Sumire Yamada
  • Institute for Social Research: Mao Li
Project partners:
  • Zhicheng Xu, student, Michigan State University
  • Matthew Bertrand, Restoration Coordinator, Friends of the Rouge

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