University of Delaware
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.

Button for making a donation to DENIN



How To Apply

Applications for DENIN Fellowships are usually accepted in late spring. Information about the application process will be posted here.

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

Introducing our new class of Fellows for 2016–18:

Photo of Julia GuimondJulia Guimond is the recipient of the Carski Family Fellowship in Water Quality. She received her bachelor’s degree in geology-biology from Brown University. After working for New Hampshire’s Department of Environmental Services Watershed Bureau for two years, she came to UD to study coastal hydrogeology. Working with Associate Professor Holly Michael in the Department of Geological Sciences, Julia will study how the movement of water through a salt marsh impacts marsh biogeochemistry and the fluxes of carbon between marshes and tidal creeks and estuaries. She is interested in developing a numerical model that can predict how sea level rise and climate change will affect coastal salt marsh ecosystems.


Photo of Tyler SowersTyler Sowers is the Donald L. and Joy G. Sparks Fellow in Soil Science. He completed his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in soil biogeochemistry at North Carolina State University. He will be working with Donald Sparks, S. Hallock du Pont Chair in Soil and Environmental Chemistry, in the Department of Plant and Soil Sciences to investigate mineral processes controlling the stability of soil organic matter under changing climatic and local environmental conditions. Soil organic matter is the largest terrestrial sink, or storage pool, of carbon, and instability of the organic matter may lead to release of its stored carbon to the atmosphere and thus contribute to climate change.


Photo of Gretchen DykesGretchen Dykes is the first Unidel Biogeosciences Fellow. She earned her bachelor’s degree from St. John Fisher College in Rochester, NY, and is working with Assistant Professor Angelia Seyfferth in the Department of Plant and Soil Sciences. Her work will focus on the microbial communities of rice paddies and the potential of silicon-rich soil amendments that interact with soil microbes to prevent arsenic uptake by rice plants. Arsenic contamination in rice is a significant human health risk is many areas of the world where rice is a dietary staple.


Photo of Lingxiao YanLingxiao Yan received his bachelor’s degree in marine science from Xiamen University in China and his master’s degree in environmental management from Duke University. He is working with Professors Sunny Jardine and George Parsons in the School of Marine Science and Policy to apply the theory of ecosystem-based management to marine fisheries. This is a departure from traditional fisheries management, which has largely examined each species in isolation from other species occupying the same environment. Lingxiao will be working to develop models of fishery management that incorporate multiple species, thus improving the sustainability and economic performance of fisheries while reducing risk for fishermen.


Photo of Sean EllisSean Ellis received his bachelor’s degree from La Salle University and his master’s in economics and applied econometrics from the University of Delaware. He is pursuing his Ph.D. in economics with Kent Messer, the Unidel Howard Cosgrove Chair in Environment, focusing on factors that shape and influence consumers’ perceptions of risk with respect to water quality. He is investigating consumers’ willingness to accept and pay for food grown with recycled wastewater, a frequently proposed measure to secure sustainable and cost-effective food production in the future.


Meet our 2015–17 Fellows:

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. Toby 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, Jason'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. Audrey 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 completed his Ph.D. in geological sciences at UD in 2016. Mahfuz’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 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. She completed her Ph.D. with the Center for Energy and Environmental Policy at UD in 2016. Her Ph.D. research aimed 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