Weekly Update: Graduation, Top Awards to Nic Faculty & Students, Latest Issue of 'Dukenvironment' and more....

April 19, 2018

A weekly roundup of Nicholas School news, awards and grants from Dean Jeff Vincent

undergraduate graduation with distinction poster session 2018

Hi everyone,
In less than a month, we’ll celebrate the graduation of our latest cohort of undergraduates, MEM/MF students, and PhD students in the wide range of disciplines and professional fields we span. As always, they’re an outstanding group of future leaders. Many are already being honored with impressive awards. See the stories below for more on that.
The talents of our graduating professional master’s students were on display two weeks ago during our annual MP symposium. Yesterday, teams of our students across all educational levels, including many graduating students, presented posters at the second annual Bass Connections showcase event. The Nicholas School is one of the smaller schools at Duke, yet we account for a disproportionate share of Bass Connections projects. That says a lot about our commitment to interdisciplinary research that addresses societally important problems and includes students as integral members of the research teams.
This Friday, April 20, you have another opportunity to be wowed by our graduating students. From 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in the LSRC 1st Floor Commons, our 2018 undergraduates in environmental, earth, and marine sciences and policy who are completing work towards Graduation With Distinction or a Sustainability Certificate will present their posters or electronic portfolios. A light lunch will be available, and the students will be standing proudly by their posters and hoping to tell you about them. Please stop by, even if you have only a few minutes. The students will appreciate it.
Our congratulations go out to the students who have worked so hard on these various capstone projects and generated such outstanding final products. We also thank their faculty advisors and the staff who have supported them and their programs.


  1. Sydney Fishman MEM’18, Lisa Remlinger DEL-MEM’18 and Eric Smith MF/MBA’18 received the Duke Alumni Association’s Forever Duke Student Leadership Award. Environmental Sciences undergrads Lesley Chen-Young and Bryce Cracknell as well as Gigi Falk, daughter of NSOE Board of Visitors members Annie and Michael Falk, were also among the Duke graduating students recognized for embodying the “Forever Duke” spirit in their service to the university. Recipients are individuals of high integrity who are strong advocates for the Duke community, exemplify Duke’s guiding principle of “knowledge in the service to society” and are leaving Duke a better place than they found it. The Nicholas School was the only professional school with more than one recipient.
  2. Claire Wang, a junior environmental sciences and policy major, received two prestigious scholarships last week. On Thursday, she won a Udall Scholarship, which is awarded to undergraduates who have demonstrated a commitment to careers in the environment or Native American tribal public policy or health care. The following day, she was named as a Truman Scholar. The program recognizes outstanding students based on their leadership potential, high academic achievement and a commitment to careers in public service and advocacy. The scholarship awards recipients up to $30,000 for their graduate studies.
  3. Congrats to lecturer Nicki Cagle, MEM student Adam Long and undergrad Claire Wang (again!) for winning 2018 Duke University Sustainability Awards! Nicki and Claire were honored for their outstanding leadership in sustainability while Adam was honored for his leadership in waste reduction. You can read more about why Nicki, Adam, Claire and the other winners were recognized on Duke Today's story.
  4. Calvin Allen, who has served as a co-instructor for ENV 795 (Practicum in Community-Based Environmental Management) alongside Liz Shapiro-Garza every spring since 2014, received the Betsy Alden Outstanding Service-Learning Award for his commitment to the ideals of service‐learning.  Calvin, who’s the director of the Rural Forward North Carolina program through the Foundation for Rural Health Leadership & Innovation, and other winners also receive $250 to further develop their community-building and leadership skills. 
  5. Second-year MEM student Brian Wong was one of three Duke graduate students who won the 2018 Bass Connections Award for Outstanding Mentorship. Brian was honored for serving as the project manager for the Energy Data Analytics Lab team, which looked to develop means to evaluate electricity access in developing countries through aerial imagery. Each winner received a $700 prize and was recognized at the Bass Connections Showcase on Wednesday.
  6. Pratt School of Engineering graduates Karim Khalil and Scott Martin, recipients of our Certificate in Energy and Environment, were among the up-and-coming entrepreneurs and innovators named to Forbes Magazine’s “30 Under 30 in Energy” list. Read more about the recognition on our website
  7. Erika Weinthal co-authored a new paper analyzing select congressional energy committee hearings to explain how a long‐standing “policy monopoly” shapes U.S. hydraulic fracturing regulation. This work shines a light on the importance of economic and geographic factors shaping regulatory agendas and outcomes. You can read the article here
  8. The latest issue of our Dukenvironment magazine hit the stands last week. The spring edition features a Q&A with incoming dean Toddi Steelman, profiles Betsy Albright and highlights how our faculty and students are helping farmers – from Northampton County to Latin America – find answers to their challenges. You can pick up a print copy in stands around the school or read it online.

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