delware environmental institute

Environmental Fellows

Bridging Science and Society

The DENIN Environmental Fellows Program supports doctoral students carrying out environmentally relevant research at the University of Delaware. The goal of the program is to help prepare students whose scientific research and interests demonstrate a clear link to societal needs and benefits. We anticipate that, over time, DENIN Fellows will pursue diverse careers across academia, the public and private sectors.

Screen shot from DENIN Fellows videoDENIN Fellows are selected to function as a team for two years and work together in ways that complement their primary academic programs. Fellows participate in and lead a select number of DENIN events and activities each year, including symposia and seminar series. DENIN will provide opportunities for networking with domestic and international scientists and leaders, as well as for professional development in areas such as effectively communicating science. Fellows may also propose new initiatives. 

Fellows are selected by a committee of internal and external reviewers. The fellowships include a $30,000 annual stipend. A cost-of-education allowance is also permitted; applicants may request up to $6,680 per year to be used for tuition, research supplies, or research-related travel. Fellowships are paid over a two-year period, as long as the Fellow remains in good standing academically. DENIN Fellows may not have concurrent RA or TA positions.

Funding for the DENIN Fellows is provided in part through private philanthropy. If you are interested in helping to support the next generation of environmental leaders, please contact Jeanette Miller.

Introducing our new class of Fellows for 2015–17:

Photo of Tobi AckermanTobias Ackerman earned his bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from the University of Delaware and is a Ph.D. candidate in geological sciences working with Professor Jim Pizzuto. He is a former dairy farmer and environmental engineering consultant whose experiences solving problems related to environmental quality and ecological services inspired him to continue his studies. Ackerman is now investigating how river sediment storage in floodplains creates time lags between changes in upland land use and downstream water quality.


Photo of Corie CharpentierAs an undergraduate at Eckerd College, Corie Charpentier became interested in how environmental conditions impact animal behavior and physiology during an internship at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). She has continued to pursue this interest in her doctoral studies with her adviser, Professor Jonathan Cohen, in the College of Earth, Ocean and Environment, and is now investigating the implications of increasing ocean acidification on the daily vertical migration patterns of zooplankton and the aquatic food chain they support.


Photo of Jason FischelJason Fischel’s Ph.D. research is focused on the geochemistry of heavy metals and how the various forms of these metals in the environment influence their toxicity. In particular, he is examining how the most toxic form of chromium is released from soil into groundwater where it poses a health hazard to drinking water. A graduate of Juniata College, Fischel's research with his adviser, Professor Donald Sparks, will lead to innovative methods to remediate soil and groundwater contamination.


Photo of Zhixuan QinOriginally from central China, Zhixuan Qin received her bachelor’s degree from South China Agricultural University and her master’s degree from the University of Florida. She is currently focusing on understanding phosphorus dynamics in agricultural soils with high phosphorus levels and working with her adviser, Professor Amy Shober in the Department of Plant and Soil Sciences, to evaluate best management practices for retaining soil phosphorus, thus lessening the need for fertilizer applications and preventing the runoff of phosphorus to waterways that leads to nuisance algal blooms.


Meet our 2014–16 Fellows:

Photo of Jean BrodeurJean Brodeur, originally from Connecticut, received her bachelor of arts degree from the University of Southern California in international relations and is currently a marine science and policy Ph.D. student. As a former Washington, D.C., lobbyist who has returned to school in order to learn more about oceanography, she knows the importance of scientists and policy makers working together to create positive environmental change. Brodeur’s research focuses on the intersection between ocean acidification chemistry and policy.

Watch Jean's video


Photo of Audrey GambleAudrey V. Gamble is a Ph.D. student in the environmental soil chemistry program at UD. Originally from Headland, Alabama, she received her bachelor’s degree in chemistry as well as her master’s in crop, soil and environmental sciences from Auburn University. Gamble is interested in research that connects agricultural practices to their environmental implications. She is currently seeking to understand the chemistry of phosphorous retention and transport in soils from the Chesapeake Bay watershed.

Watch Audrey's video


Photo of Mahfuz KhanMahfuzur Khan, from Jamalpur, Bangladesh, received both his bachelor’s and masters’ degrees from the University of Dhaka. He is currently a Ph.D. student in geological sciences at UD. Khan’s research revolves around arsenic contamination in groundwater and river deltas. He is interested in the sustainability of deep groundwater in Bangladesh as an arsenic-safe water source as well as the management of highly seasonal cross-regional and international river basins. 

Watch Mahfuz's video

Photo of Kelsea SchumacherKelsea Schumacher, a student in the Center for Energy and Environmental Policy, is originally from Bend, Oregon. She has a bachelor of science degree in environmental engineering and a master’s in civil engineering from Oregon State University. Her Ph.D. research aims to determine the capabilities and capacity of the U.S. electronic waste recycling infrastructure, so that effective industry and policy measures can be designed to increase collection for recycling and close the loop on the lifecycle of electronic products.

Watch Kelsea's video


How To Apply

Applications for DENIN Envrionmental Fellowships are generally conducted in the spring semester via an online form that will be posted here. An application packet typically contains a research proposal, resume, and letters of recommendation from the applicant's adviser and one other faculty member who is familiar with the applicant's work.

The fellowship is open to current and newly admitted University of Delaware doctoral students with an environmental focus whose advisers are DENIN Affiliated faculty members. Fellows are required to provide a brief written report annually, to attend DENIN events and the annual Delaware EPSCoR State Meeting, and to make presentations to the DENIN or EPSCoR communities.

Address questions regarding the fellowship or the application process to DENIN Associate Director Jeanette Miller by email or by calling 302-831-4167.