Sustainability Scholars

Research that seeks innovative results

By addressing large-scale problems we're cultivating stronger communities and better lives. Students selected for this program work side-by-side world-class researchers in the field of sustainability, and shape the future—for themselves and the environment.

Description of the video:

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Abby Zieliski:
I had absolutely no idea that I wanted to do anything with sustainability, but I thought it was important to reach out and figure out what I could do and this opportunity arose and I definitely took it. I've learned so much so far and it's definitely interesting.

We're studying the quality of the Jordan river and we're using physical, chemical, and biological indiciators to determine that. We're seeing how campus infrastructure and student population affects the quality of the river.

Thomas Simon:
2020 Sustainability scholarships is really meant to advance scholarship and education and research for undergraduates. The main idea is really to help focus applied questions, to really start figure out what we talk about in the classroom can be used on the ground and how this actually becomes a career field and career pathway for the students.

Ecological health is such an important component, especially the Jordan river being such an iconic river in the middle of campus, everybody's aware of it. So, to make sure we have ecological health was, I thought, very important. So that's the approach I wanted to take advantage of.

Abby Zieliski speaking:
Dr.Simon selected me to be his undergraduate researcher for the 2020 sustainability program. The other people in the lab are in SPEA and sustainability work. It's so much fun to interact with other colleges and the students there and Dr. Simon. His history is so extensive on what he's done with water quality and collections of bugs and fish. It's amazing to work with someone that knows so much about what I'm just beginning to learn about.

Thomas Simon:
To be able to get to work hand in hand directly for a period of time, if it's just one semester. That really opens their eyes to how much other things are involved and what more they can do.

Abby Zieliski:
It just important to be able to work outside the classroom, in a lab, in the field, working with other people and working independently. I feel like it's a very diverse process that allows you to grow as a person and as a scientist. I think it's just a fantastic opportunity to do it now.

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Redefine Your Classroom

Students selected as Sustainability Scholars will receive a $500 scholarship each semester, based on successful work with their assigned mentor.  Students are required to:

  • Engage in 8-10 hours per week of research with their assigned mentor.
  • Attend the Sustainability Scholars orientation.
  • Begin meeting with their mentor mid-fall semester through the end of the spring semester.
  • Create an approved research work plan in collaboration with an assigned faculty mentor by the conclusion of the fall term.
  • Enroll in the 2-credit hour Sustainability Scholars course for the spring semester.

Applications for the 2022-2023 cohort will open in August 2022. 

2018 Mentors Seeking Scholars
MentorResearch Topic
Dr. Daniel Knudsen, Professor, GeographyThe Agricultural Paradox: Case Study of South Central Indiana
Kan Shao, Assistant Professor of Environmental and Occupational Health, School of Public HealthInvestigating health risk imposed by environmental emergency-related contamination events
Dr. Norman Makoto Su, Assistant Professor of Informatics, Human-Computer Interaction DesignHow are new data-driven technologies being developed to support sustainable practices of farmers?
Dr. Suzannah Evans Comfort, Assistant Professor, JournalismHow do scientists use their training in an advocacy context?
Stephen ‘Chip’ Glaholt, SPEA Professor and ResearcherCan our locally grown algae based biofertilizer (created from the emission stacks of IU’s Central Heating Plant) provide the necessary nutrients to grow healthy crops on IU’s Campus Farm and help the Campus Farm achieve organic certification?
Professor Scott Shackelford, Chair of the IU-Bloomington Cybersecurity Program, Director of the Ostrom Workshop Program on Cybersecurity and Internet GovernanceMeasuring Sustainable Cybersecurity: How Benefit Corporations Can Help Protect Privacy, Boost Cybersecurity, and Promote Cyber Peace
Jon Eldon, Lecturer, School of Public and Environmental AffairsSustainable agricultural practices to renew degraded urban soil
Dr. Angela Babb, Post-Doctoral Fellow, Ostrom WorkshopReal Food on the IU-Bloomington Campus
Dr. Angela Babb, Post-Doctoral Fellow, Ostrom WorkshopHoosier farming histories and sustainable futures
Dr. Kelly Eskew, Clinical Associate Professor, Business Law & Ethics, Kelley School of BusinessHow can utilities and governmental units further the acceptance of water reuse and recycling while maintaining positive public relations and sustainable profits?
Dr. Kurt Waldman, Assistant Professor, Department of Geography; Dr. Stacey Giroux, Associate Research Scientist, Ostrom WorkshopMaking sustainable food consumption decisions
Dr. Khalid Khan, Assistant Professor, Environmental and Occupational Health, School of Public HealthEffect of motivational text messages and e-brochure on recreational noise related knowledge, attitude and behavior among undergraduate students at Indiana University Bloomington.
Dr. Natasha MacBean, Assistant Professor, Department of GeographyTracking Human Land Cover Change
Professor Ellen D. Ketterson and Dr. Devraj Singh (postdoctoral fellow), Environmental Resilience Institute, Indiana University, BloomingtonImpact of environmental challenges on seasonal phenology of dark eyed Juncos
Dr. Priscilla Barnes, Associate Professor, Applied Health Science, School of Public HealthExamining Barriers and Benefits of Physical Activity Resources in Rural Settings: A Four County Case Study
Dr. Robert D. Montoya, Assistant Professor, Information and Library ScienceMuseums and Archives in an Era of Climate Change
Stephanie C. Kane, Department of International StudiesInvaders or Homecomers: Toward a Nuanced Approach to Non-Native Plants in Landscape Design on Campus and in Adjacent Neighborhoods

2019-2020 Sustainability Scholars

Adam Weiler

Adam Weiler

MENTOR: Dr. Devraj Singh, Postdoctoral Researcher, Environmental Resilience Institute
RESEARCH TOPIC: Impact of light at night (LAN) on daily/seasonal hormone levels in dark-eyed juncos

Alex Crookshanks

Alex Crookshanks

MENTOR: Dr. Jon Eldon, Lecturer, O'Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs
RESEARCH TOPIC: Expansion of Composting Facilities

 Amanda Cristophe

Amanda Christophe

MENTOR: Dr. Landon Yoder, Assistant Professor, O'Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs
RESEARCH TOPIC: The role of collective incentives in monitoring the adoption of on-farm conservation practices

Ava Hartman

Ava Hartman

MENTOR: Dr. David Stringer, Associate Professor, Second Language Studies
RESEARCH TOPIC: Animacy and the Linguistic Encoding of Ecological Knowledge in Endangered Ecosystems

Charlotte McFerran

Charlotte McFerran

MENTOR: Dr. Matt Houser, Adjunct Assistant Research Scientist, Department of Sociology
RESEARCH TOPIC: The Hoosier Life Survey

Haiz Webb

Haiz Webb

MENTOR: Dr. Heather Reynolds, Associate Professor, Department of Biology
RESEARCH TOPIC: Mapping Urban Green Infrastructure

Isabella Yallapragada

Isabella Yallapragada

MENTOR: Dr. Matt Houser, Adjunct Assistant Research Scientist, Department of Sociology
RESEARCH TOPIC: Midwest farmers' view of, experiences with and responses to climate change

Ky Lewis

Ky Lewis

MENTOR: Human Dimensions of Natural Resources Fellow, Environmental Resilience Institute
RESEARCH TOPIC: Exploring collective action through invasive species management groups

Laura Gerber

Laura Gerber

MENTOR: Dr. Gina Depper, Assistant Research Scientist, School of Public Health
RESEARCH TOPIC: Communicating Projected Impacts of of Climate-Related Events to Communities

Liam Green

Liam Green

MENTOR: Stephen 'Chip' Glaholt, Instructor and Lab Director, O'Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs
RESEARCH TOPIC: Evaluation the potential of algae based fertilizers to grow healthier food


Marie O'Neill

MENTOR: Dr. Angela Babb, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Ostrom Workshop
RESEARCH TOPIC: Local Food Purchasing Among Indiana Institutions


Matthias Benko

MENTOR: Dr. Alex Jahn, Migration Patterns Fellow, Environmental Resilience Institute
RESEARCH TOPIC: American Robin as Indicator of Urban Ecosystem Health


Mitch Korolev

MENTOR: Dr. Kim Novick, Associate Professor, O'Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs
RESEARCH TOPIC: Tracking the timing of spring and fall leaf development in Indiana's rural and urban forests


Sid Das

MENTOR: Dr. Angela Babb, Post Doctoral Research Fellow, Ostrom Workshop
RESEARCH TOPIC: Strategic Planning for Sustainable Food at IUB


Stephanie Deyo

MENTOR: Dr. Kevin Ellett, Research Geologist, Indiana Geological and Water Survey
RESEARCH TOPIC: An Innovative Program to Increase IU's Sustainability using Geothermal Technologies


Trina Grogan

MENTOR: Dr. Kelley Eskew, Clinical Associate Professor, Business Law & Ethics, Kelley School of Business
RESEARCH TOPIC: Single Use Plastics at Indiana University Bloomington


Zoya Ehsan

MENTOR: Steve Wolter, Executive Director, Eppley Institute for Parks and Public Lands, Center for Rural Engagement
RESEARCH TOPIC: Climate Friendly Parks and Public Lands: Creating Sustainable Spaces in Local Communities

Apply to be a Sustainability Scholar

Interested in working with a faculty mentor on a research project? Applications for 2021-2022 are due by September 24, 2021. 

Apply Now!

Sustain IU

Office of Sustainability
704 E. 10th Street
Bloomington, IN 47408
Phone: 812.855.9195