Graham Sustainability Institute

Carbon Neutrality

Frequently-Asked Questions

Dow Master’s/Professional Fellows Application Process

Can I apply at any time during graduate school?

No. If you are in a 2-year masters program, you must apply your first year because you need to be a student for the duration of the Dow Fellows Program that begins in January and ends in December. If you are a 3-year dual-degree masters student, you may apply your first or second year.

Why does my application to my school/college look a little different than the final Dow Fellows application?

Each school/college has a specific process to determine the students they would like to nominate for the Dow Sustainability Fellows Program. However, some require the same materials.

How many students can be nominated by my school/college?

Each school/college may nominate up to 10 students and are also required to submit the names of reviewers.

How many letters of reference should I submit?

Two references need to be submitted. At least one reference needs to be from a U-M faculty member in your respective school/college and the other letter can be professors from another institution, supervisors, etc. All letters are confidential and submitted separately from other application materials provided by nominees. All letters and application materials must be submitted online. The application review committee will consider only two letters per applicant. All letters should be addressed to the Dow Fellows Application Review Committee.

Do I need to contact my references need to submit a letter?

If you are nominated, contact your references as soon as possible to ask for a letter of support, including commenting on your work, scholarly and leadership potential, communication, teamwork, and interpersonal skills. On your full application (submitted online), list the names and contact information of no more than two references. They will be contacted and informed that you have listed them as a reference and provided the details to submit their confidential letter online. Applicants will not have access to reference letters, but the faculty review team will have access to the letters, as part of the full application package. Reviewers will only consider two letters for each applicant.

What is the duration of an appointment as a Dow Fellow?

January through December, with project activities continuing through the summer months. Program events and other meetings are scheduled during the Fall and Winter terms. Many events are scheduled on Monday evenings and some are scheduled for the weekend (Welcome Retreat & Symposium).

If I am chosen to be a Dow Fellow, will I receive the $20,000 stipend right away?

The $20,000 stipend is disbursed in increments of $10,000 per semester directly to the fellow’s school/college. Each student will receive $10,000 for the winter semester in which they begin the program. However, with the holiday break shortening the fund transfer timeline, students should work their school/college financial aid office to coordinate tuition support. Receipt of the second $10,000 is contingent upon sufficient progress to date and is transferred July-August. All fellow stipends are disbursed to students from the school/college.

Funds from the Dow Fellows Program will be disbursed directly to the fellow’s home school/college. Due to the annual end of year university closure, (between December 24 and January 1st) the funding transfer process and departmental posting of funds may be delayed. Also, the application review process may result in funding transfer delays.

Students: Please contact your school/college financial aid office as soon as you are selected as a Dow Fellow if you wish to use your award for tuition and registration fees at the start of the winter term.

If I am chosen to be a Dow Fellow, how can I spend the $20,000 stipend?

The $20,000 is intended to be used as a tuition stipend. If a fellow wishes to use their stipend for another purpose, they should consult with their school/college financial aid officer and their academic advisor.

Do I need to have a specific project idea in mind when I submit my application?

Fellows are invited but not required to submit a project idea (pitch), related to circular economy and climate protection. Project teams are formed based on topical interest and disciplinary balance. All Fellows pitching a project idea must secure a client. Other projects will be proposed, including continuing projects that previous teams have worked on, and client-proposed projects with a specific need identified.

What have Fellows Alum had to say about the program? 

(2020 testimonial) Without the leadership development, I would not have successfully led another student team this semester... Without the opportunity to produce such important and high-quality final deliverables, I would not have had the opportunity to give my first ever [professional] conference presentation... Without the chance to design a project around the needs of a community organization, I would not have been given the opportunity to work as a Fellow this summer on a community-facing impact assessment... Without the experience of putting passion for sustainability and environmental justice solutions into practice, I would not be [working with] a consulting firm regional environmental justice project collaborative with [a major university], nor would I be entering an environmental justice lab in a doctoral program... Without your patience and mentorship, I would not have built the foundation to weather professional conditions that demand resilience, and would not have been introduced to role models like yourselves that help me to learn about the complexities of female leadership. When I think of "leaders and best," I think of the [Dow Fellows Program] leaders and the growth they provided me... Thank you for the life-altering opportunity, the guidance, the learning, and the professional development. You promised us an incredible experience, and through a pandemic that tossed aside our most careful plans, you delivered.