Dow Fellows Global Impact Series

The Dow Global Impact Series provides a glimpse into the interesting, and often rewarding work of graduate students engaged in the Dow Sustainability Fellows Program. Each summary in the series is based on a report produced by student teams, and highlights key issues, their approach and project outcomes. Videos provide student perspectives about the Fellows Program.

local food

Innovation of the Mundane: Better Stoves, Better Toilets, Better Lives

Underlying contributors to serious health and environmental challenges often don’t receive the attention they deserve. This BlueLab India Project addresses toilets and cookstoves, two examples which may not readily come to mind when contemplating global health issues.

Team Members Include students from:  the College of Engineering,  the College of Literature, Science and the Arts (LS&A), and the Penny Stamps School of Art & Design. View the summary document below for the complete list of project team members.

Read the Summary (PDF)  /  Read the Full Report (PDF)

Housing for all Initiative, India

Zeqi ZhuSneha Rao


Housing for All Initiative: Slum Redevelopment in India

The Dow Fellows student project team developed recommendations to ensure the successful implementation of the Housing for All program through the analysis of previous housing policies in India, and the study of city-wide housing schemes. 

Team Members: Michelle Hindman, Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy (SPP); Olivia Lu-Hill, Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning (TCAUP); Sean Murphy, College of Engineering (COE); Sneha Rao, SPP; Yash Shah, COE; Zeqi Zhu, School of Natural Resources and Environment

Read the Summary (PDF)  /  Read the Full Report (PDF) 


Data Science for Indian Farmers

Using Data Science to Support Indian Farmers

Increased drought, a lack of irrigation access, and volatile market prices for popular cash crops have left many Indian rural farmers deep in debt. These changes, coupled with complex political issues, have led to high poverty and high farmer suicide rates. 

Team Members: Hassan Bukhari, Shamitha Keerthi, Kavya Vayyasi, Kavya Vayyasi and Sara Cole, School of Natural Resources and Environment (SNRE); Adithya Dahagama, SNRE and Ford School of Public Policy; Aniket Anand Deshmukh, College of Engineering (COE); John Monnat, Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning; Samhita Shiledar, SNRE, COE; Pavel Azgaldov, SNRE and Ross School of Business; Leon Espira, School of Public Health (SPH); Stacy Pancratz, Institute for Survey Research; Kelly Serfling, SPH; and Brian Wang, COE

Read the Summary (PDF)  


first video



Making Santa Marta Home

Vila Santa Marta in Brazil is a community facing a number of socio-environmental challenges. These challenges include trash in public spaces, difficulties with waste management and road infrastructure and inadequate water and sewage systems that can lead to flooding.

Team Members: Jamilla Afandi, Masters Student, TCAUP; Aayat Ali, Masters Student, TCAUP and School of Social Work; Stephanie Gerretsen, Masters Student, TCAUP and School of Kinesiology; Alexis Gomez, Masters Student, TCAUP and School of Natural Resources and Environment

Read the Summary (PDF)  /  Read the Full Report (PDF)

local food

Growing Our Local Food System: Recommendations for Washtenaw County

Small farmers face a host of economic challenges, including access to markets, loans, and start-up capital.This fact sheet provides a summary of how the Dow Fellows student team explored USDA farm census data to identify unique areas in Washtenaw County, and locations that fit the national and statewide trends.

Team Members: Daniel Bator, School of Public Health; Cassandra Baxter, Gerald R.Ford School of Public Policy and Department of Economics; Jason Coleman and Remy Long, School of Natural Resources and Environment (SNRE); Marianna Kerppola, Ross School of Business and SNRE

Read the Summary (PDF)  /  Read the Full Report (PDF)

honey from hive

Capping Food Consumption:  Using Stories to Make Change Stick

For a nation with five percent of the world’s population, the United States has an outsized environmental footprint. It takes as much water to produce a single pound of beef as an average person uses to bathe in a year. Despite such resource-intensive production, nearly a third of annual US food production goes to waste.

Team Members: Dan Tish, Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning; Charlice Randall, School of Public Health; and Kelsea Ballantyne, Ross School of Business

Read the Summary (PDF)  /  Read the Full Report (PDF)

honey from hive

Responding to Honey Bee Population Decline in Michigan

Following a national pattern, Michigan’s honey bee populations are declining rapidly. Because honey bees pollinate nearly all of the fruits, vegetables, and nuts grown in Michigan, this population decline is emerging as a significant threat to the state’s food production. 

Team Members: Mike Bianco, Penny Stamps School of Art and Design;  Jenny Cooper, School of Natural Resources and Environment, and Ross School of Business (Erb Institute); Michelle Fournier, School of Natural Resources and Environment; and Betsy Riley,  School of Natural Resources and Environment and School of Public Policy.

Read the Summary (PDF)  /  Read the Full Report (PDF)


Maite Madrazo


Powering Sub-Saharan Africa

To reduce the use of diesel fuel generators, efforts are underway to establish sustainable and renewable energy sources. The International Energy Agency estimates that by 2040, seventy percent of the rural electricity can be delivered by renewable energy sources. 

Team Members: Jeff Jay, Law School; Will Kletter, Ross School of Business; Maite Madrazo, Ross School of Business and School of Natural Resources and Environment (SNRE); Josh Novacheck, College of Engineering and SNRE; and Rory Pulvino, Law School

Read the Summary (PDF)  /  Read the Full Report (PDF) /   Watch a short video interview with Jeff Jay and Maite Madrazo, top right



Recovery Park, Sustaining Detroit

RecoveryPark (RP) is a non-profit organization that strives to create jobs for people with barriers to employment, such as parolees. One way RP does this is by supporting start-up businesses initiated by this population. The Fellows team collaborated with RecoveryPark to develop a business and communication strategy for RP Farms, the first of a family of for-profit companies under the RP umbrella. 

Team Members: Alexandra Chen, College of Architecture and Urban Planning; Elizabeth Grobbel, College of Engineering; Kenneth Johnson, Ross School of Business; Jill Kiepura, Ross School of Business; Kyle Murphy, Ford School of Public Policy; and Benjamin Sevald, Ross School of Business

Read the Summary (PDF) / Read the Full Report (PDF) /  Watch a short video interview with Jill Kiepura, top right


See All Dow Masters Project Reports

U-M students Erin Barton, Geneva Langeland, and Raji Kunapuli contributed to the development of these summaries. We are grateful to the Dow Masters students and project partners who reviewed content and provided additional resources for this series.