Graham Sustainability Institute

Carbon Neutrality

Application Procedure and Deadlines

The Dow Sustainability Fellows Program is a highly competitive opportunity for masters/professional students at the Ann Arbor campus to take a deep dive into a robust year-long project with a client external to the University. We invite you to contact your academic advisor at your home school/college to discuss your interest in sustainability, waste reduction, climate, and other topics aligned with this Program. 

Students: Please contact your graduate advisor/administrator in early September. All students must be nominated by their school or college by late October (see deadlines below). All nominees, application materials (e.g., support letters), must be submitted online. Each school or college utilizes its own process to identify students who are eligible for nomination to the Dow Fellows Program. All nominees must certify that they are current students in good standing and will work to remain in good standing throughout the duration of the Dow Fellows Program.


  • Ensure that all nominees are current students in good standing (review of student record/formal transcript) at the point of submitting a full application.
  • Notify all student nominees and indicate if they were or were not selected, shortly after submitting your list of nominees to the Dow Fellows Program.
  • Design and implement your own nomination process, in preparation for submitting Dow Fellows nominees. 
  • First generation and underrepresented students are welcome and considered part of a diverse cohort. Supporting sustainability scholars, the Dow Sustainability Fellows Program is aligned with the U-M commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. Program efforts focus on ensuring that each student thrives. Scholars learn that diversity is key to empowerment and the advancement of sustainability knowledge, learning, and leadership at U-M and worldwide.
  • Identify both student nominees and faculty reviewers on the list that you submit to the Dow Fellows program online.
  • Contact and ensure that all faculty reviewers are aware of their responsibility to complete their application reviews on or before the deadline. The notification to students accepted to the Dow Fellows Program, as well as the transfer of  stipends to schools/colleges for Fellows may be delayed if reviews are not completed by the deadline. The application review is a fully online process managed by the Graham Sustainability Institute for the Dow Fellows Program. The Graham Institute administers the Dow Fellows Program on behalf of the University of Michigan.

Fall 2021 Dow Fellows Cohort Recruitment
Key Deadlines & Dates to Hold

October 28, 4:00 PM - Administrators from all Ann Arbor campus schools and colleges are welcome to nominate up to 10 candidates. If submitting student nominees, you must also submit faculty reviewers. All nominees and reviewer information must be submitted online. Administrators will receive information directly from the Dow Fellows Program via email.

    November 4, 4:00 PM: Nominated students complete and submit their application packages and may edit their application until this date
    All letter writers are contacted by the Dow Fellows Program via email but because of busy schedules, student reminders are helpful. Students may check their application online to ensure letters have been submitted — please refrain from contacting the Dow Fellows Program, unless it is urgent.

    • November 11th, 4:00 PM: Letters of reference submitted on behalf of the nominated student are due.
    • December 2nd, 4:00 PM: Faculty Review Committee completes their assessment of nominees/applicants and makes recommendations to the Program Director.
    • Program Director and Manager review all recommendations from the faculty committee.
    • December 22: Notification and a Formal Announcement of Dow Fellows 2021 Cohort.

    All Student Nominees - Please Add These Dates to Your Calendar

    • January 8, 2022 - Welcome Retreat: A required session to participate in sustainability discussions related to year-long projects, begin the process of forming project teams, and learn about program timelines, deliverables, and expectations. This event is a critical first step in project team formation and all new Dow Fellows are expected to fully participate.
    • Monday Evenings, 5:15 - 7:30 PM - throughout winter and fall semesters: Hold this time for required seminars, meetings with project teams, and clients. An important part of your commitment to the Dow Fellows Program is to schedule time each week to work on your project.

    Required Application Materials

    • Nominees selected will receive an application link: Once nomination and reviewer lists are received by schools/colleges, nominees will be contacted by the Dow Fellows Program staff and provided a link to submit application materials online.
    • Full application process: Students may be able to leverage much of their materials from the nomination process for the full application and simply copy and paste into the online form. Letters of reference must also be submitted online. All nominees are required to complete and submit a full application to the Dow Fellows Program, in addition to the nomination materials submitted to their school/college.

    All application materials must be submitted online as a single PDF file (typed and legible) with the following:

    1. A statement (up to 800-words) of educational goals and planned post-graduate studies or work  that describe:
      1. The student’s field of study and career aspirations related to sustainability, the circular economy, and climate protection (up to 200 words).
      2. How participation in the Dow Fellows Program will be a transformative, as opposed to the incremental, learning experience (up to 200 words).
      3. A challenge or opportunity related to an area of work related to sustainability, circularity, or climate; and how a client or community would benefit from interdisciplinary approaches (up to 400 words). Fellows are NOT required to propose a specific team project. Fellows are presented with a suite of possible projects, with clients vetted by Dow Fellows Program leaders.
    2. A short, critical thinking essay (up to 500 words) answering the following question: “In what ways does fostering a diverse, equitable, and inclusive community affect pathways to sustainability?”
    3. A brief curriculum vitae or resume (up to 2 pages) including:
      1. Educational background
      2. Relevant work experience
      3. Major awards and honors received
      4. Membership in professional organizations (if applicable)
      5. Publications and presentations (if applicable)
      6. Service to the community or other relevant extra-curricular activities
    4. Transcripts of all graduate and undergraduate coursework. Unofficial transcripts are acceptable, but they must be legible.

    All applicants and letter writers will receive confirmation of successful submission via email. 

    Letters: Two references need to be submitted. At least one reference needs to be from a U-M faculty member and the other letter can be professors from another institution, supervisors, etc. Please do not submit more than two letters.

    Letter writers:

    • Must submit their letter online. Please do not email letters to the Dow Fellows Program, as it impedes the application review process.
    • Comment on the following: The work, scholarly, and leadership potential and communication, teamwork, and interpersonal skills of the student. All application components must be submitted online to ensure that the application Review Committee can access all student materials.


    • Are strongly encouraged to contact their letter writers as soon as possible to encourage the prompt submission of letters on or before the deadline (see above).
    • Please contact your letter writer directly.
    • Please do not email any application materials (including letters) to the Dow Fellows Program.

    All applications will be handled confidentially.