Two environmental studies students awarded Wisconsin Idea Fellowships

April 22, 2016

Two undergraduate environmental studies students have been awarded 2016-17 Wisconsin Idea Fellowships. The fellowships are awarded annually to semester-long or year-long projects designed by an undergraduate student or group of students at UW-Madison, in collaboration with a community organization and a UW faculty or staff member, to solve issues identified by local or global communities.

Junior Joshua Kalman (along with junior Amelia Rossa and sophomore Caden Lambie and advisor Catherine Woodward, a faculty associate in the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies), has received a Wisconsin Idea Fellowship to implement a water quality monitoring project in coastal Ecuador.

Wisconsin Idea Fellowships
are awarded annually to
projects designed by an
undergraduate student
or group of students at
UW-Madison to solve
issues identified by local
or global communities.

In Manabí province — a coastal region of Ecuador — Giardia, Cholera, amoebic dysentery, and dengue are common where water quality is often poor. Working alongside the Ceiba Foundation for Tropical Conservation, students will train others in water quality monitoring techniques, establish permanent water quality monitoring sites, collect water quality data and compose informational materials for community dissemination.

Junior Maria Castillo, in partnership with nonprofit Transforma and advisor Robert Beattie, a Nelson Institute faculty associate, has also been awarded a Wisconsin Idea Fellowship to train women in western Costa Rica on repurposing clothing and textiles.

Transforma is a social venture with the mission to create sustainable development and gender equality by promoting women’s empowerment through the decentralization of waste and upcycling practices. Working with a local women’s association, the project will train local women on repurposing clothing and textiles to provide women with additional income and decrease the amount of waste going to landfills, an increasing problem in the area.

The 18th year of the Wisconsin Idea Fellowships features nine unique undergraduate projects at home and across the world. The projects range in topic from public health to agriculture, college-preparedness mentoring, poverty and more.

The selection process is highly competitive, with successful projects receiving both logistical and financial support—up to $7,000. Some projects will begin this summer, and some may last through next May. A total of 15 UW-Madison students are part of this year’s projects, sponsored by the Morgridge Center for Public Service. View the full list of awardees.