Weekly Update: Our Students on Inclusion, Klein Boards Expedition, MEMs' Work in Energy and Sustainability, and more....

April 26, 2018

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

Hi everyone,

Our strategic plan, Working Together, highlights the benefits of an inclusive Nicholas School culture: a culture that recognizes the value of all members of the school community and fosters a sense of belonging. Those benefits include improved leadership training, enhanced teamwork, bolstered recruitment and retention, and an environment that enables the far-reaching benefits of diversity to flourish.

Jiaxin Guo MEM ’19, a student intern in our Marketing and Communications Office, just completed an impressive video that should make us all proud of our progress in developing a more inclusive school culture. The testimonials of the fellow students Jiaxin interviewed remind us why this effort is so important, and how it makes such a difference in the life of the school.

Kudos to Jiaxin, the other MEM and MF students who generously shared their experiences, Sean Rowe and Sergio Tovar of our talented staff for mentoring and sharing their media expertise with Jiaxin, and all of you for your contributions toward moving the Nicholas School in a positive direction.


  1. Alli Phillips, a PhD student in the environmental health program, is one of 100 doctoral students in the United States and Canada selected to receive $15,000 from the P.E.O. Sisterhood. The P.E.O. Scholar Awards honor women pursuing a doctoral-level degree who have shown a high level of academic achievement and potential for having a positive impact on society. Alli was sponsored by a local chapter and is mentored by Heather Stapleton.
  2. MEM students Lina Khan, Ziting Huang and Ananya Chaurey placed third out of 35 teams competing in the Net Impact Future of Energy Challenge at Shell’s Powering Progress Together event. The group proposed a plan to retrofit Shell service stations as sites for electric vehicle charging and solar power generation. The Duke Energy Initiative supported the students’ travel to California for the competition.
  3. Avner Vengosh testified at a Congressional briefing on Wednesday about proposed amendments to weaken the Environmental Protection Agency’s 2015 Coal Ash Rule. Avner told Congressional members and staffers that the proposed changes will reduce long-term protection of drinking water supplies for communities living near coal ash ponds and landfills. You can read more about the briefing here
  4. First-year MEM students Sneha Balasubramanian, Tasfia Nayem, Zainab Qazi and Apoorva Sahay are researching corporate sustainability reporting trends under the United Nations Global Compact’s Principles for Responsible Management Education (PRME) initiative. This worldwide effort aims to train future generations of responsible leaders by embedding the core values of corporate sustainability into universities’ educational, research and campus practices. Second-year students Bobbi Lesser and Emily True worked with faculty member Deb Gallagher to make us the first school of the environment signatory of PRME. In addition to their research, the students provided valuable corporate data to WikiRate, an open source database of corporate environmental, social and governance performance, ensuring that sustainability reporting metrics are available and accessible to all.&
  5. Last week, Emily Klein and PhD student Ben Wernette set sail on an expedition to the Cocos-Nazca spreading center in the eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean. The team aims to collect magnetic, gravity and bathymetric data as well as lava samples in order to better understand the formation and evolution of oceanic rifts. You can keep up with their month-long research trip on the expedition's blog.

Keep me up to date on what you are doing. Submit your items here.