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Week of June 24, 2013

Six scholars selected as Dow Fellows

Six postdoctoral scholars have been selected to join the Dow Sustainability Fellows Program this fall. Through diverse research areas and approaches, they each aim to help address some of the world’s most pressing sustainability challenges.

Sixty applicants solicited through approximately 20 national and international academic societies competed for the fellowships. They represent a range of disciplines including the social sciences, humanities, and the natural, physical and engineering sciences.

All fellows will be mentored by designated faculty members in their home academic units during their two-year appointment.

“The selected scholars offer diverse perspectives on the sustainability challenges facing our planet and will be crucial to bringing the collaborative nature of the program together to help develop real solutions,” said Don Scavia, Graham Family Professor of Environmental Sustainability, special counsel to the U-M president for sustainability, and director of the Graham Sustainability Institute, which administers the program on the university’s behalf.

Deborah Goldberg, Elzada U. Clover Collegiate Professor of Ecology and outgoing chair of the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, will lead the Postdoctoral Fellows program. Goldberg’s four-year term as a senior fellow in the Michigan Society of Fellows serves as inspiration as she begins to develop and build this new program and intellectual community.

“I am looking forward to working with this talented new group of scholars. I see this program as a catalyst for cross-disciplinary and cross-generational conversations and collaborations around issues in sustainability,” Goldberg said.

The scholars, their doctoral degree granting institutions, U-M academic units and research topics are as follows:

• Susan Csiszar comes from the University of Toronto (Canada) to the School of Public (SPH), where she will develop a multi-scale chemical decision-making tool to better inform green chemical design and safer use of chemicals in consumer products.

• Carina Gronlund is a U-M environmental health sciences graduate who will continue her work in SPH to study the impacts of increased climate temperatures on cardiovascular health, specifically as they differ among different demographics and a population’s proximity to sustainable features, such as parks, trees and walkways.

• Lianne Lefsrud comes from the University of Alberta (Canada) to the Erb Institute and School of Natural Resources and Environment (SNRE), where she will examine climate change regulation and policy, and the role ambiguity plays in defining climate change, its effects, and responses by responsible parties.

• Sai Liang comes from Tsinghua University (China) to SNRE, where he will explore how the economies of the global trade network are likely to be impacted by future environmental challenges, specifically focusing on either a country’s energy resources or availability of freshwater.

• Daniel Molzahn comes from the University of Wisconsin — Madison to the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science in the College of Engineering, where he will investigate future potential electric system structures taking into consideration new possible technologies and policies.

• Ethan Schoolman is a U-M sociology graduate, who will be based in SNRE to examine the relationship between local food systems, the environment and quality of life of diverse social groups. He seeks to determine if increased opportunities to participate in local food systems lead farmers to adopt more environmentally sustainable production methods.

In addition to conducting their sustainability-related research, the postdoctoral fellows will participate in the program’s co-curricular activities, such as skills-building workshops and seminars. They also will serve as mentors to the doctoral, masters and professional degree fellows.

The Dow Sustainability Fellows program was created in 2011 through a gift from the Dow Chemical Co. For more information, go to:


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