Tag: Environmental and Energy Policy

Nominee for 2021 CGS/ProQuest Distinguished Dissertation Award: Hongmei Lu

The Graduate School is pleased to announce that Hongmei Lu is Michigan Tech’s nominee for the 2021 CGS/ProQuest Distinguished Dissertation Award in the area of Humanities and Fine Arts.  Dr. Lu received her Ph.D. in Environmental and Energy Policy in the department of Social Sciences in 2020 and was advised by Dr. Audrey Mayer.  Her dissertation was entitled, “From Garden City to Sponge City: Urban Green Infrastructure Policy Development.”  As described by her advisor, her dissertation focused on Chinese policies and policy actors in the rapidly-emerging area of urban green infrastructure. Green infrastructure is increasingly used around the world to solve common environmental problems in cities, such as flooding, air pollution, and climate change. In China, as in the rest of the world, urban green infrastructure has a significant environmental justice dimension; green space is more commonly found in wealthier neighborhoods and has a positive feedback effect on real estate prices and rents. In response to the rapid urbanization of China, the central government has put forth an increasing number of policies (such as the Sponge City program) to try to address flooding and pollution issues through the implementation of green infrastructure. As Hongmei’s work is revealing, the success or failure of these policies often rely upon the presence of astute policy agents who can shepherd programs and projects through a sometimes-byzantine bureaucratic system.

Currently, Dr. Lu is working with Dr. Angie Carter on a community-based research project of local food system development in the Western Upper Peninsula, Michigan, and explores how grassroots co-production of a local food system can improve community wellbeing, especially food security and food sovereignty during and after the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dr. Lu was nominated by the Social Sciences department and the nomination was supported by Dr. Audrey Mayer, Dr. Shan Zhou, and Dr. Melissa Baird.

The CGS/ProQuest Award operates on a two-year cycle with regard to fields of competition. The next competition will occur in 2022 and will consider applicants who have completed their degrees between July 1, 2021, to June 30, 2022 in the fields of Mathematics, Physical Sciences & Engineering; and the Social Sciences.  Please consider nominating your Ph.D. graduates next year.


CGS/ProQuest Distinguished Dissertation Nominee – Mayra Morgan

Mayra Sanchez Morgan completed a PhD in the Environmental and Energy Policy program in the Social Science department at Michigan Tech in 2019. Dr. Morgan’s research investigates how ecotourism empowers or disempowers women in rural Mexico. The first paper from her dissertation, entitled “The Third Shift? Gender and Empowerment in a Women’s Ecotourism Cooperative”, was published in the journal Rural Sociology in 2019 and has been recognized as one of the most downloaded articles of the journal. During her degree, Dr. Morgan organized two conferences and presented her research in more than 18 conferences, meetings, and as a guest lecture in national and international conferences and meetings. She served as a campus leader in diverse student organizations (such as GSG, ASPEN, and NOSTROS) and worked diligently to promote diversity and inclusion. Dr. Morgan received a Finishing Fellowship from the Michigan Tech Graduate School and a Dissertation Research Award from the Rural Sociological Society. Dr. Morgan enjoys dancing and warm and sunny days. 


Doctoral Finishing Fellowship Summer 2020 Recipient – Bethel Worku Tarekegne

Bethel Tarekegne is a PhD candidate in Environmental and Energy Policy at Michigan Technological University. She holds a Masters in Energy Policy from the School of Public Policy at University of Maryland, College Park and a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from Benedict College.

Bethel’s work focuses on examining the intersection of energy, development, policy, and governance. Her current research is motivated by the need to achieve universal energy access in developing economies – mainly in the sub-Saharan Africa region. As an energy access researcher, she focuses on modeling decision tools for electrification planning with a special emphasis on the integration of techno-economic and socio-technical perspectives, rural electrification and social development, energy security and justice, and energy governance and policymaking. Through her work, she tries to understand how electrification projects can be designed from the energy-poor’s perspective in order to have equitable socio-economic outcomes.


Doctoral Finishing Fellowship Spring 2020 Recipient – Hongmei Lu

Hongmei Lu
Environmental Policy

I am a Ph.D. candidate studying Environmental and Energy Policy in the Department of Social Sciences. I received my M.Sc. degree from Wageningen University, The Netherlands in Landscape Architecture & Planning. I started my Ph.D. program in Fall 2016 at MTU under the supervision of Dr. Audrey L. Mayer. My research interests include policy making and policy implementation pertaining to the urban environment, including green infrastructure, green stormwater management, municipal waste management, etc. My dissertation topic is “From Garden City to Sponge City: Urban green infrastructure policy development in China.”

I am very grateful to the Graduate School for the Finishing Fellowship support, which allows me to completely focus on my research at this final stage of my graduate studies. Thanks also to all the supports for my study from the Department of Social Sciences in the past four years.


Record Number of Fulbright Scholars at Tech

The students are from Afghanistan, Egypt, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Laos, Lesotho, Mauritius, Morocco, Pakistan, Russia, Serbia & Montenegro, Togo, and Ukraine. Such diversity in backgrounds and academic interests brings a richness to Tech and makes our Graduate School like no other. Here are two comments:

  • “I am studying Electrical Engineering with a specialization in Power Systems. I plan to focus on the production of energy through renewable energy sources. Togo is a small country in Africa and is only able to produce about 30% of its consumption of electricity. I became interested in this area because I suffered from this lack of electricity when I was in high school. I had to study for my high school degree using old-fashioned kerosene lamps and candles and that’s still the case for a lot of children living in the countryside. That’s why I am doing my best to help bring electricity to remote areas. And I hope my time at Michigan Tech will give me with skills to address this issue in a more effective way.” – Koami Hayibo, MS, Togo
  • “Kazakhstan is in the top 15 countries in terms of coal, oil and gas reserves. Exports of these commodities have been feeding Kazakhstan’s economy for almost thirty years. However excessive reliance on hydrocarbon exports has its economic, societal and environmental backlashes. With its existing infrastructure, Kazakhstan is the 19th largest source of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the world despite having only 18 million population. Realizing this problem, the government began to develop measures to improve the situation. In this regard, I decided that studying Environmental and Energy Policy at Michigan Tech can greatly contribute to creating a more favorable environment for my home country.” -Azat Turegeldin, MS – Kazakhstan

The mission of the Fulbright Program is to increase international understanding and respond to critical global issues. It is funded and overseen by the State Department, with 155 countries participating in the Program. Fulbrighters exemplify the power of international academic exchange to transform lives, bridge geographic and cultural boundaries and promote a more peaceful and prosperous world.


Nominee for 2018 CGS/ProQuest Distinguished Dissertation Award: Erin Pischke

Erin Pischke
Environmental and Energy Policy

Erin Pischke 2018My dissertation research examines the public perceptions of socioecological impacts of oil palm production and the political ecology of environmental change in Tabasco, Mexico. I collaborate with natural, social and engineering scientists to study the impacts of bioenergy development projects to assess the sustainability of them. My work shows that past political and economic actions impact current environmental conditions and creates institutional and structural constraints in the region to which people are adapting. A multi-pronged, interdisciplinary approach tackles problems from various angles to, in a sense, make the problem smaller. My research also studies the challenges that international, interdisciplinary teams face when studying such impacts in international settings so that future research can be more successful.


Nominees for 2018 CGS/ProQuest Distinguished Dissertation Award

The Graduate School would like to congratulate and recognize Lauren Schaefer and Erin Pischke for being nominated for the Council of Graduate Schools / ProQuest Distinguished Dissertation Awards, the nation’s most prestigious honors for doctoral dissertations.

Two awards are given annually in two different broad areas (mathematics, physical sciences and engineering; and social sciences; and the biological sciences; and humanities and fine arts). The winners of the awards will be announced during the Fall 2018 Semester.

The 2018 fields of competition are:

Mathematics, Physical Sciences, and Engineering

Mathematics and Social Sciences


Dean’s Award for Outstanding Teaching Award – Spring 2018 Recipients

Congratulations! Outstanding Graduate Student Teaching Award Spring 2018 Recipients

Rasmi Adhikari (Biochemistry and Molecular Biology PhD)
Mohammad Alizadeh Fard (Environmental Engineering PhD)
Apurva Baruah (Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics PhD)
Timothy Butler (Biological Sciences MS)
Chethan Ramakrishna Reddy (Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics PhD)
Daniel Crane (Mathematical Sciences PhD)
James Davis (Electrical Engineering MS)
Jennifer Dunn (Environmental and Energy Policy PhD)
Silke Feltz (Rhetoric, Theory, and Culture PhD)
Sanaz Habibi (Chemical Engineering PhD)
Arash Jamali (Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics PhD)
Matthew Kilgas (Integrative Physiology PhD)
Anindya Majumdar (Biomedical Engineering PhD)
Aeshah Khudaysh M Muqri (Physics PhD)
Rohit Sunil Pandhare (Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics PhD)
Sagar Umesh Patil (Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics PhD)
Nishchal Sharma (Electrical Engineering MS)


Congressional Fellowships on Women and Public Policy for 2018

The Women’s Congressional Policy Institute (formerly Women’s Policy, Inc.) has been the home for the Congressional Fellowships on Women and Public Policy since 2014 (formerly the WREI Fellowships). The fellowships are extended each year to a select number of students pursuing a graduate degree or those who have recently completed a master’s, doctorate, or professional degree with a proven commitment to equity for women. Fellows gain practical policymaking experience and graduate credit as they work from January to August in Congressional offices.

The Fellowships are designed to train potential leaders in public policy formation to examine issues from the perspective, experiences, and needs of women. Administered by WCPI, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization located in Washington, DC, this program is unique—the only graduate level fellowship program on Capitol Hill directly by, for, and about women.

Application materials for the 2018 Class of Fellows are now available! Click the Eligibility and Application tab for more details! The deadline for all application materials is close of business on Thursday, June 1, 2017.


Graduate Student’s VISTA Broadens as She Earns a Degree Through Volunteer Service

A graduate student at Michigan Tech, Rhianna Williams, is earning a master’s degree far from the ivory tower of the classroom. She’s working as a volunteer with the US Office of Surface Mining VISTA program, helping residents of the Uncompahgre Watershed learn about protecting their water resources.

“I joined for the opportunity to practice what I’d learned in the class out in the field,” she says.

Williams conducts watershed education programs in the schools and monthly water sampling for Riverwatch, a group that monitors the river’s conditions along a 10-mile stretch of the Upper Uncompahgre River.

“I’ve enjoyed working with kids,” she says. “We work with local third-grade teachers to take the class out water sampling every month. They were really excited to know that the data they collected would be used to make decisions about their river.”

VISTA, originally Volunteers in Service to America, was founded in 1965 as a national service program designed to fight poverty in the US. In 1993, VISTA was incorporated into the AmeriCorps network of programs.

The OSM/VISTA and Peace Corps Coverdell programs offer graduate students the opportunity to combine academic study with supervised, practical field experience and research. Michigan Tech has partnered with OSM/VISTA programs since 2012

For the full story, see Michigan Tech News.