January 29, 2018

Two UMSI students named Dow Sustainability Fellows

UMSI students Joel Adu-Brimpong and Saebom (April) Kwon named 2018 Dow Sustainability Fellows.

Two graduate students at the School of Information are among the 34 master’s and professional degree students named Dow Sustainability Fellows at the University of Michigan for 2018. The program, funded by the Dow Chemical Company Foundation, awards $20,000 to fellows for their studies. As part of the program, they will work in interdisciplinary teams on sustainability projects in areas such as infrastructure, health, energy, food systems, climate change and more.

The two UMSI students chosen as fellows this year are Joel Adu-Brimpong and Saebom (April) Kwon.

Joel Adu-Brimpong is in his first year of the master of health informatics program, concentrating in data analytics and decision science. His interest in health informatics stems from his heritage. “I was born in Ghana. And in parts of the world similar to Ghana, people still succumb to infectious diseases that have long been eliminated in economically-developed countries.” For that reason, he says, “I’m interested in improving the health of communities and populations by reallocating resources wisely and effectively to account for, enhance and protect the environments people live in.”

Beyond the funding and support of the Fellows Program, he says “the opportunity to seek out, propose and design sustainable solutions to complex problems, in creative and resource-efficient ways, is exciting.”

Joel plans to design a housing model that combines low-cost technologies for low-resource communities in economically-developing nations because, he believes “housing is an integral part of capital creation, health and well-being.”

Eventually, he envisions a full-scale housing model for governments, NGOs and other major global health players. “Transforming information into knowledge and using that knowledge to collaboratively create and facilitate sustainable, human-centered solutions is central to UMSI, and will be central to the work I do in the Dow program.”

Saebom April Kwon is a first year MSI student concentrating on human-computer interaction. She has a passion for social sustainability and community development and hopes to design an affordable, sustainable framework for nonprofit local organizations to utilize in their overall management, institutional memory and problem solving.

After visiting the poverty-stricken and polluted Baseco compound in Manila, Philippines, she says, “I realized sustainability is being accountable for what I have observed.”

She hopes to better understand how technology comes into play for spontaneously cooperative, problem-solving communities. Regarding the fellowship, she says, “I’m excited to be part of this great mix of students with different backgrounds, working on field study and actionable projects.”