Scholars will spend the first week of the program in an academic orientation where they will become familiar and engage with the University of Michigan Campus and Ann Arbor community and travel to Pellston, MI for a field orientation to explore northern Michigan and the University’s Biological Station. During the remaining 7 weeks scholars will work full time on a research project. Scholars will gain knowledge and develop skills working closely on campus with faculty from the School for Environment and Sustainability (SEAS).
Year One Research:
Year one provides scholars with an introduction to qualitative and quantitative research methods. Students will assist SEAS faculty and researchers on their ongoing research projects. SEAS faculty engage in interdisciplinary research that directly contributes to the protection of the Earth’s resources. They gather skills from multiple disciplines both in the social and natural sciences in order to address issues in sustainability, agroforestry, environmental justice, political ecology, ecosystem processes, aquaculture systems, forest ecology, and geospatial analysis. Please view student profiles for previous research topics.
Conservation in Action:
A large component of our program is experiencing conservation in action. We will travel to places in Michigan to speak with professionals and stakeholders in the environmental field. Scholars will see where their interests in conservation can take them and the impact they can have in the environmental field. Site visits will vary from year to year.
Examples of Past Field Trips During Year One
- University of Michigan Biological Station
- Huron River
- Tahquamenon Falls State Park
- Mackinac Island State Park
- Matthaei Botanical Gardens
- UM Campus Farm
- Nichols Arboretum
- D-Town Farms
- Warren Dunes State Park
- Lake St. Clair
- Pictured Rocks State Park
Diversity, Equity and Inclusion:
Scholars will also partake in weekly speaker series, graduate and career workshops, and student led seminars discussing diversity and equity in conservation. Guided by program staff, mentors and field instructors, scholars will examine concepts around power, privilege and identity, and how these forces impact historical, contemporary and emerging challenges within the field of conservation. DDCSP UM staff and mentors are committed to creating respectful and safe spaces for these conversations. Scholars are expected to actively participate using what they learn from the assigned readings, their field work, and their own lived experiences.
Year Two Internships:
In year two students will have the choice of joining a conservation/environmental non governmental organization or governmental agency in Ann Arbor and the Detroit Metropolitan area and complete a 7 week internship or build off their research skills from the previous year in the lab. Students will have the chance to work directly with conservation and environmental professionals to develop a professional network. We also provide second year scholars with the opportunity to participate in a free GRE preparation course during the second summer. Field sites and trips may vary from year to year.
Field Site Visits and Field Trips Year Two
- Pictured Rocks State Park
- Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge
Second Year Retreat: This is an opportunity to introduce scholars to marine conservation issues in a tropical setting. This will complement the conservation issues students are exposed to in the Great Lakes Region. Our destination retreat will focus on sites like the Virgin islands, Puerto Rico or the Southeastern U.S.