$75,000 Awarded: U-M Students working in Uganda and Costa Rica

Elizabeth LaPorte
Release Date: 


Large Grant Winners 2019

Above: Representatives from Large Grant Award-winning teams working in Costa Rica and Uganda.

“We believe these are diverse, high performing, motivated teams with an opportunity to have a significant impact. The projects were well thought out, practical, and compelling, which motivated us to fund the projects fully and to allocate the full $75,000.”

—Comments from the Dow Sustainability Fellows Distinguished Awards Review Panel, 2019 Large Grant Competition

Two Project Teams Awarded Large Grants: Uganda and Costa Rica

Two student-led teams at the University of Michigan have won awards totaling $75,000 in the Dow Distinguished Awards Competition. The winning teams were recognized for their efforts to date and their plans to complete additional work. The teams will use this award to continue implementing innovative sustainable solutions in the coming months.

Uganda Project: Social Life Cycle Assessment and Health Impacts of Ceramic Water Filters in Uganda

  • Award: $25,000
  • Team: Lauren Balotin (Environment & Sustainability/Public Health), Addison Carr (Education), Quinn Favret (Business), Ebony Johnson (Sociology/Public Health), Lynn Socha (Environment & Sustainability), Annalisa Wilder (Environment & Sustainability/Public Policy), Alexa White (Ecology & Evolutionary Biology), Fantasia Williams (Environment & Sustainability/Public Health), Jessica Yelk (Architecture/Urban and Regional Planning), and Dr. Jose Alfaro (Project Advisor, Environment and Sustainability).
  • The Sustainability Without Borders-Uganda team has been investigating improved access to water resources through the use of ceramic water filters and assessing the overall needs of more than 26 million Ugandan citizens lacking access to safe water. The project team will continue working on social life cycle assessments, GIS mapping and other methods to improve access to safe water.

Costa Rica Project: Developing a Net-Zero Biological Field Station in Costa Rica

  • Award: $50,000
  • Team: Andrew Harrison (Engineering), Thomas Hayek (Environment & Sustainability), Jacob Picardat (Environment & Sustainability), Maya Lapp (Math, College of Wooster), Amelia Linde (Architecture & Urban Design); and Project Advisors Dr. Jose Alfaro (Environment & Sustainability), Dr. Jacinta Feehner (Psychology/Anthropology), and Dr. Thore Bergman (Ecology & Evolutionary Biology/Psychology).
  • The Net-Zero Costa Rica Team created a carbon-neutral energy plan focusing on renewable energy for a research and education center in the Taboga Forest Reserve (Guanacaste Province of Costa Rica). Working in collaboration with researchers at U-M and La Universidad Técnica Nacional students also focused on developing a sustainable water and waste management plan. The project team will continue to work on efforts to support international and interdisciplinary work on the research station.

Both teams are part of the cohort of eight Distinguished Award project teams awarded seed grants earlier this year. Teams competing for support include students working collaboratively from at least three distinct disciplines, U-M project advisors and a variety of project partners.

DDA - 2029 Panel

Above: Distinguished Award Panel Members: Kim Clugston, Professor Bart Bartlett, and Jim Gawron

Community Engagement

.A panel evaluated each of the teams competing for the Award and represented members of the community, local business, and industry. The panel included Vice President of the Bank of Ann Arbor Kim Clugston, Professor of Chemistry Bart Bartlett, and Jim Gawron U-M Dow Fellows Alumni and Investor Relations Manager of Ford Motor Company.

Project Partners include La Universidad Técnica Nacional, SPOUTS of Water, the U-M Center for Socially Engaged Design, the U-M Ginsberg Center for Community Service and Learning, the U-M Computing and Analytics Research, and the U-M Library.

U-M School and Colleges Represented: College of Engineering, Ford School of Public Policy, School of Education, Ross School of Business, School for Environment and Sustainability, Taubman College of Architecture & Urban Planning, School of Public Health, School of Social Work.

The Dow Distinguished Awards competition is part of the Dow Sustainability Fellows Program and is open to all U-M Ann Arbor students at all academic levels. The large grant awards were announced at the annual Dow Sustainability Fellows Symposium. Made possible by Dow, the Dow Sustainability Fellows Program at U-M supports scholars who are committed to finding interdisciplinary, actionable, and meaningful sustainability solutions on local-to-global scales. The program prepares future sustainability leaders to make a positive difference in organizations worldwide. We believe that diversity, equity, and inclusion are key to empowerment, and the advancement of sustainability knowledge, learning, and leadership.

Learn More: Dow Global Impact Projects