Graham Sustainability Institute

Carbon Neutrality

Guidelines for Fellows

All application materials, including letters, must be submitted online. See the Nomination Process

Program Timeline: The appointment of Dow Fellows is for 12 months (January-December). 

All Student Nominees - Please Add These Dates to Your Calendar

  • January 8, 2022 - Welcome Retreat: A required session to network, participate in sustainability discussions, learn about program expectations, and discuss year-long projects, and a critical first step in project team formation.
  • Monday Evenings, 5:15 - 7:30 PM: Hold this time each week for cohort networking, project team meetings, and connecting with your client, and others.
  • December 2022 - Full-day Symposium (usually the first Saturday in December): A culminating event, all Dow Fellows present a summary of their work and are expected to fully participate in discussions, as well as support the entire cohort.

The full schedule of Dow Fellows events, and resources and key documents, are posted on a Canvas website (access is granted, once accepted to the program). All winter semester events will be held remotely.

Requirements and Responsibilities

All Dow Fellows and Fellows Teams Must:

  • Be enrolled and in good standing in a U-M, Ann Arbor, terminal masters or professional degree program throughout their participation in the Dow Fellows Program.
  • Dow Fellows may NOT be employed as a GSI (Graduate Student Instructor) during their participation as a Dow Fellow, due to conflicts with scheduling and other issues. Students with GSRAs (Graduate Student Research Assistant positions) must contact the Program Director and Manager before submitting a full application to ensure that they are able to participate fully in the Dow Fellows Program.
  • A remote Winter 2021 semester per the U-M Provost guidelines will be conducted. Fellows may be expected to reside in the Ann Arbor area for the Fall 2021 semester if in-person engagement is approved/recommended by the U-M Provost. Fellows may also travel if/when approved by the U-M Provost, following all U-M Travel Guidelines. Reasonable absences may be allowed but must be disclosed to and approved by the Dow Fellows Program Leaders (Director or Manager) in advance. Awards may be revoked if the fellow fails to fully disclose and seek approval for absences.
  • Actively participate in the cohort and skill-building activities, including program workshops, skill sessions, and seminars. Fellows who are unable to attend a required program event for any reason must notify the Dow Fellows Program Leaders in advance.
  • Submit a Project Plan (scope of work and budget) and a project report to the Dow Fellows Program for review, and present a project summary at the Symposium.
  • Engage their colleagues, advisor, and client throughout the project duration. Engagement with the full project team is essential to project success and making the most of the Fellows Program experience.
  • Abide by All Applicable U-M Policies (e.g., Academic Integrity) including any non-academic codes and policies and the academic integrity policy of the Program for the entirety of their engagement as a Fellow. Failure to adhere to these policies may result in the revocation of their fellowship, including funds.
  • Ensure the materials produced during participation in the Dow Fellows Program are available to the public, including reports and summaries, recommendations, toolkits, applications, graphics, presentations, and other work. All project reports will be published on the Dow Fellows Program website.

High Participation & High Value

Past Fellows consistently reflect on the interaction with an interdisciplinary cohort as being among the highest value program experiences. Full student attendance at required events is critical to program success. Toward this end, we set and communicate dates for key program activities in advance specifically so that students have adequate time to schedule other activities and to reduce conflicts with program engagement. Please be advised that students who choose not to participate consistently in required events run the risk of losing Fellows funding and may not be able to continue with the program.

Building Leaders

All Fellows manage an interdisciplinary team project, engaging a client, stakeholders, and consultants. Fellows form teams (4-5 fellows each) to develop and execute a project in collaboration with a client. Each Fellow spends approximately 150 hours on a sustainability project, working with a client or community external to the University of Michigan.

  • Fellows teams work with a variety of local-global clients and communities
  • All teams develop and implement a project plan based on client needs
  • Teams create a comprehensive analysis of options and possible deliverables
  • Project outputs include a written report available to the public, and a presentation 
    (Other outputs include videos, infographics, photo essays, online applications, software, and other products/services.)


Each Dow Masters Fellow receives up to $20,000, contingent upon satisfactory participation in the program. Award disbursement:

  • One $10,000 payment is disbursed to academic units prior to the start of the academic terms (December and August) for posting to student accounts
  • Fellows: Please notify the financial aid office in your home unit as soon as you are selected if you wish to use your Fellows award at the start of the winter term
  • Awards are intended to offset tuition, and registration fees; use of these funds for other purposes requires approval from the school/college financial aid office and the Dow Fellows Program
    (Payments can be posted as “refundable,” but this may have federal and state tax implications for students)

Additional Support for Project Teams: Each project team may receive up to $3,000 - $5,000 in additional support for client/community engagement, contingent upon the submission and approval of a project proposal and budget. Teams and individual fellows may also apply for additional funds, as available. 

Academic Credit: Fellows are encouraged to work with their home schools or colleges and explore opportunities aligning their project work with degree requirements.

All unexpended funds remain the property of the Dow Fellows Program.

Acknowledgment of Support

Please use the following acknowledgment in reports, presentations, papers, and with the news media: This work was supported by the Dow Company Foundation and the University of Michigan (U-M), through the Dow Sustainability Fellows Program at U-M.