Taubman College Students Named 2024 Dow Sustainability Fellows

Five Taubman College students–Jamie Brackman, Jon Kent, Lyu Chen, Lauren Jenkins, and Jessie Williams–have been named 2024 Dow Sustainability Fellows. The Dow Sustainability Fellows program, supported by Dow and administered by the University of Michigan Graham Sustainability Institute, cultivates the next generation of sustainability leaders by promoting interdisciplinary and collaborative engagement. The Fellows Program awarded over $800,000 in tuition and project funding to 32 graduate students from 12 University of Michigan schools and colleges.

“We are delighted to welcome a talented new cohort of Dow Sustainability Fellows into this productive, highly selective program,” said Jennifer Haverkamp, Graham Family Director. “The 2024 Dow Sustainability Fellows join a community of over 1,000 current students and alumni supported by the Dow Sustainability Program at U-M. Over the coming year, they will advance their external partners’ sustainability goals and deepen their commitment to sustainability, preparing to promote a more sustainable future wherever life leads them after graduation.”

The students are part of teams that will complete projects with Habitat for Humanity, The Nature Conservancy, Amcor, Elevate, Friends of the Shiawassee River, and the Western Lake Erie Basin Partners.

Jamie Brackman, urban and regional planning

The Nature Conservancy | Goals for Human Well-Being Targets in the Saginaw Bay Watershed

The Dow Fellows team, in collaboration with The Nature Conservancy, analyzed over 100 agriculture and food system organizations in the Great Lakes and Mississippi watershed that have successfully transitioned to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. TNC has a 10+year history of working in Michigan’s Saginaw Bay Watershed to improve land management decisions which will result in better water quality outcomes for inland waters and the bay. TNC has focused on tracking water quality indicators as a primary measure of success but has made limited efforts to establish regional human wellbeing targets. With renewed interest in Saginaw Bay Watershed, there is a need for a fuller set of quality-of-life-related indicators. The team compiled case studies and a large index highlighting potential partners working with BIPOC communities and farmers. This work offers guidance on reconciling relationships with BIPOC communities, tracking progress toward DEI goals, and strengthening DEI practices. Learn more about the Goals for Human Well-Being Targets project.

Jon Kent, urban and regional planning

Elevate | Resilient Eastside Initiative: Community-Led Emergency Planning for Climate-Resilient Community Hubs in Detroit

Elevate is a Chicago-based nonprofit organization that is teamed with Dow Sustainability Fellows to identify comprehensive strategies to support local climate planning and resilience building in the face of climate impacts in Southeast Michigan. This project is divided into two phases, including tiers of warning and action flow charts for each type of emergency. Following these steps, Elevate aims to improve connections across regional resilience hubs, develop standard operating processes, and conduct more thorough vulnerability assessments to provide preemptive reactions to natural disasters. Learn more about the Resilient Eastside Initiative project.

Chen Lyu, architecture and urban and regional planning
Lauren Jenkins, architecture and urban design

Habitat for Humanity International: Mapping Health and Energy Equity in Disinvested Communities

Understanding factors that can exacerbate poor health and energy burden for residents, as well as conditions that climate change worsens, helps affordable housing providers make decisions about activities and funding. Habitat for Humanity aims to unite people to build homes, communities, and hope. Teamed with the Dow Fellows, Habitat for Humanity is looking to create tools for identifying and describing areas in terms of energy and health improvement interventions. Building on the work of previous Fellows, this project will apply the information directly to funding opportunities available through the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund and other funding opportunities aimed at environmental justice and energy equity.

Jessie Williams, urban and regional planning

Friends of the Shiawassee River: Understanding the impacts of large-scale solar on stormwater management and building best practices for watershed planning

Friends of the Shiawassee River is a group dedicated to the restoration and preservation of what is now known as one of the healthiest warm-water rivers in Michigan. The Dow Fellows will aid their efforts by building a case for photovoltaic stormwater management to be incorporated as a priority into watershed management plans through data mining, engagement with community partners and local experts, and assessing current stormwater management plans. Fellows will then develop best management practices for photovoltaic stormwater management in the Mid-Shiawassee River Watershed Plan, which no other Michigan regional watershed plans have.