The Doris Duke Conservation Scholars Program is a two-year experiential learning program for undergraduate students. Each scholar spends two summers at the University of Michigan doing research and internship experiences in the environmental field. 


2017 Scholar, Whitney Vong, presents her poster at the annual DDCSP Research Symposium. Photo Credit: Yorick Oden-Plants

2017 Scholar, Whitney Vong, presents her poster at the annual DDCSP Research Symposium. Photo Credit: Yorick Oden-Plants

Year One: Research

Year one provides scholars with an introduction to qualitative and/or quantitative research methods. For 7 weeks, students will assist SEAS faculty, staff and graduate students on their ongoing research projects. SEAS faculty engage in interdisciplinary research that directly contributes to the protection of the Earth’s resources and to the development of sustainable communities. At the end of the summer, scholars present their research to the public at the annual DDCSP Research Symposium

Past research projects have focused on topics such as: 

  • Agriculture: Evaluating the ecosystem-services provided by cover crops for farmers in Michigan
  • Great Lakes Ecology: Investigating the effects phosphorus has on water quality and fish production in Lake Erie
  • Urban Sustainability: Assessing the re-purposing of vacant lots in Detroit as habitat for pollinators
  • Social Justice: Examining the impact of climate change on Tribal communities in the Great Lakes

Learn more about the research experience on the research page!


Year Two: Internships

2016 Scholar, Danielle Moni-Zo'obo (far right), joins a meeting with U.S. Senator Gary Peters as part of her 2017 summer internship with the Michigan League of Conservation Voters.

2016 Scholar, Danielle Moni-Zo'obo (far right), joins a meeting with U.S. Senator Gary Peters as part of her 2017 summer internship with the Michigan League of Conservation Voters.

In their second year at DDCSP, students will complete a 7-week internship at a conservation/environmental non-governmental organization or governmental agency in the Ann Arbor-Detroit Metropolitan area. This experience gives scholars the chance to work directly with conservation and environmental professionals and develop a professional network

Past internship sites have included: 

Learn more about the internship experience on the internships page!


Conservation in Action

2017 Scholar, Gabbie Buendia, enjoys a fresh snack while learning about sustainable agriculture at the University of Michigan Campus Farm. 

2017 Scholar, Gabbie Buendia, enjoys a fresh snack while learning about sustainable agriculture at the University of Michigan Campus Farm. 

In addition to research and internship experiences, scholars will have a chance to explore the unique environment of the Great Lakes region through field trips and excursions throughout their two summers with DDCSP. These trips expose students to professionals and stakeholders, allowing them to see where their interests in conservation can take them and the impact they can have in the environmental field. Site visits vary from year to year.

   Examples of Past Field Trips:

  • University of Michigan Biological Station
  • Kayaking the Huron River
  • Tahquamenon Falls State Park 
  • Mackinac Island State Park 
  • Matthaei Botanical Gardens
  • U-M Campus Farm
  • Nichols Arboretum
  • D-Town Farms
  • Warren Dunes State Park  
  • Lake St. Clair
  • Pictured Rocks State Park

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Bonta, M. & Jordan, C. 2007. “Diversifying the American environmental movement.” In E. Enderle, ed., Diversity and the Future of the Environmental Movement. New Haven, CT: Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies. Pp. 13.

Bonta, M. & Jordan, C. 2007. “Diversifying the American environmental movement.” In E. Enderle, ed., Diversity and the Future of the Environmental Movement. New Haven, CT: Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies. Pp. 13.

Dr. Taylor's latest book, The Rise of the American Conservation Movement: Power, Priviledge, and Enviornmental Protection

Dr. Taylor's latest book, The Rise of the American Conservation Movement: Power, Priviledge, and Enviornmental Protection

Drawing on the research of Program Director, Dr. Dorceta E. Taylor, DDCSP at the University of Michigan has a special focus on programming related to diversity and equity in conservation. First-year scholars will participate in regular seminars that help 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 in these discussions using what they learn from assigned readings, field work, and their own lived experiences.