Graduate students from nine University schools and colleges have been named Dow Sustainability Fellows, the University announced Monday.

The fellowship includes a $20,000 scholarship, as well as the opportunity to work closely with a community of scholars focused on issues in sustainability.

Forty students who are currently enrolled in master’s or professional programs at the University were named to the year-long fellowship. They were selected from a group of nominees from 11 programs across campus. Each school or college could name up to 10 candidates.

This group composes one division of the Dow Sustainability Master’s/Professional Fellows at the University, as the program also offers fellowships for doctoral and postdoctoral students.

The program is comprised of students focused on interdisciplinary approaches to a variety of sustainability challenges, including issues with water, energy, transportation, the built environment, climate change, food and health, among other challenges.

Besides working alongside the Dow Sustainability doctoral and postdoctoral fellows, the students will also participate in an interdisciplinary team project designed to provide experience tackling real-world challenges.

Don Scavia, director of the Graham Sustainability Institute, said in an e-mail part of the program’s success stems from collaborations of students from different disciplines. He wrote that the fellowship offers students a unique opportunity to add practical experience to their academic pursuits.

“They will be much better prepared for tackling complex problems no matter what sector they chose to work in — corporate, government, NGO, academic — upon graduation,” he wrote.

He also emphasized the program’s importance to the University, noting the fellowship conveys the power of a public university to prepare students to solve complex sustainability challenges.

“We are not aware of any university, nationally or globally, that has anything like this — training over 75 masters, professional, doctoral, and postdoctoral students each year in the nuances of addressing sustainability,” Scavia wrote.

Engineering graduate student Selman Mujovic, one of the students named as a fellow, said he looks forward to using the skills from his interdisciplinary project team to impact the world. Mujovic is currently working independently on a water purification project and said he hopes the fellowship will help him navigate the process of implementing it.

“I didn’t know that so many different schools were involved in the fellowship,” Mujovic said. “I originally thought that it was specifically for the College of Engineering. I’m looking forward to working with the other fellows to collectively implement various sustainability projects.”

Business graduate student Daniel Patton, also a new fellow, wrote in an e-mail that he expects the most rewarding part the program will be the opportunity to work across fields of study. Patton added that the fellowship is unique in the way that sustainability challenges can be discussed among some of the top graduate students in the country.

“Sustainability challenges can be hard nuts to crack,” Patton wrote. “Often one perspective is not enough. I hope to gain concrete experience developing solutions that extend my field of expertise.”

Mujovic added that he hopes the fellowship will have long-lasting effects in the sustainability community.

“Although the program is one year, I hope that our influence will last 10 times that and will extend beyond our starting location,” he said.

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