Six scholars selected as Dow Fellows at U-M

June 20, 2013
Dana Budzaj Elger, (734) 936-5190,

ANN ARBOR—Six postdoctoral scholars have been selected to join the Dow Sustainability Fellows Program at the University of Michigan 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 Professor Don Scavia, special counsel to the president for sustainability and director of the Graham Sustainability Institute, which administers the program on the university’s behalf.

Deborah Goldberg, the 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 to the U-M School of Public Health, where she will develop a multiscale 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 the School of Public Health to study the impacts of increased climate temperatures on cardiovascular health, specifically as they differ among different demographics and a populations’ vicinity to sustainable features, such as parks, trees and walkways.
  • Lianne Lefsrud comes from the University of Alberta to U-M’s Erb Institute and School of Natural Resources and Environment, 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 in China to the School of Natural Resources and Environment, 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 to 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 the School of Natural Resources and Environment 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, master’s and professional degree fellows.


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