Skip to content

Support for Graduate Students in Clark Geography

The Edna Bailey Sussman Fund provides support to graduate students for summer, environment-related research opportunities. The support is limited to just a handful of select institutions: Clark University Graduate School of Geography, Yale University, Duke University, University of Michigan, State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry, Colorado School of Mines, Scripps Institute of Oceanography at University of California at San Diego, and Virginia Polytechnic Institute.

Since the Edna Bailey Sussman Fund first invited Clark’s Graduate School of Geography to participate in this prestigious program in 2014, we have received nearly $320,000 to support 47 master’s and Ph.D. students who have received Edna Bailey Sussman Fund Graduate Research Fellowships.


The Edna Bailey Sussman Fund provides Graduate Research Fellowships to master’s and Ph.D. students in Clark’s Graduate School of Geography for environment-related (physical or human dimensions) research within the United States. Each fellowship recipient must be hosted by an off-campus, U.S.-based institution.

Financial support covers summer research, with each fellowship averaging around $6,000. This is calculated at $15 per hour, up to 35 hours per week, up to 14 weeks.

Clark applications are due on or before February 7, 2022. If you intend to submit an application, please send a short email informing Karen Frey by January 24, 2022.

Applicants must submit one PDF copy of all documents (one single file, please). The applicant’s name should be on each page of the application and on supporting materials. Please send the digital PDF file via e-mail to

  • Application Cover Page, specifying the start and end dates of the research period. Download Application.
  • Proposal: Describe the work of the intended research experience and how it will contribute to your educational and career goals. What research will be performed and how will this work benefit the host organization? How will the Edna Bailey Sussman Fund be acknowledged? Identify the host site supervisor by name and title and describe how the supervisor will evaluate the work. Statements longer than 500 words will not be accepted.
  • Name of Faculty Adviser (or faculty member to be used as a reference): Provide the name of your adviser (or Graduate School of Geography faculty member with whom you are in contact about this research).
  • Letter from Research Host/Sponsor (on official organization stationery with original signature): Statements should be addressed to the Edna Bailey Sussman Fund (c/o The Graduate School of Geography), must be written by the person who will directly supervise the research, and should explicitly discuss the following: (1) the start and end date of the research; (2) the importance of the research to the host organization; (3) the nature of the work to be accomplished; and (4) how the research will be supervised and evaluated.
  • Undergraduate and Graduate Transcripts (including current semester at Clark): Scanned copies of official transcripts are acceptable, but web-based print-outs of unofficial transcripts are not acceptable.
  • Resume or Curriculum Vitae
  • Budget Justification Page: Describe how the total request was calculated, not how the money will be spent. The Edna Bailey Sussman Fund will not accept proposals that request funds for travel, accommodations, supplies, or fees. Typically this request is calculated in terms of an hourly rate ($15/hour), then considering number hours to be dedicated per week or per task, and ultimately the total amount of hours and funds necessary for the duration of the research experience.

Doctoral Dissertation Writing Fellowship Awardees

Ph.D. Student Faculty Adviser/Sponsor(s) Proposal Title
Melissa Bollman-Shih James McCarthy Planning a sustainable future: The environmental impacts of US renewable energy policies
Marc Healy John Rogan Throwing Shade: Urban forests in Massachusetts’ Gateway Cities
Surendra Shrestha Christopher Williams Assessing Regional Land Surface Biophysical and Biochemical Responses to Wildfire with Remote Sensing and Land Surface Model Integration
Mara van den Bold James McCarthy Implications of influence: examining the evolving role of U.S. based development institutions in renewable energy development globally
Luisa Young Karen Frey Characterizing Arctic Ocean Sea Ice Environments: from melt ponds to phytoplankton phenology

Award Recipients

Applicant Faculty Adviser(s) Proposal Title Host Institution
Michael Athay Yuko Aoyama Curbing U.S. Carbon Pollution: Electrifying Automobility through Citizen Science Communication Dartmouth College, “Undecided” with Matt Ferrell
Arman Bajracharya Rinku Roy Chowdhury Evaluating land cover in relation to urban climate risk and social vulnerability in Massachusetts Woodwell Climate Research Center
Sarah Lerman Sinkoff John Rogan Gas Leaks and the Urban Tree Canopy: Connecting Heat Islands to Energy Insecurity Northeastern Social Science Environmental Health Research Institute
Ethan Manley Gil Pontius Mapping Analysis of Non-Point Source Pollutants and Nutrients in the Ipswich and Parker River Watersheds Due to Land Use University of New Hampshire / Plum Island Ecosystems LTER Group
Sadie Murray Gil Pontius Increasing Carbon Neutrality in New England Biolabs New England Biolabs
Galen Oettel John Rogan Evaluating the contribution of newly acquired properties by the Greater Worcester Land Trust (GWLT) to the connectivity of green space in Worcester, MA The Greater Worcester Land Trust
Aandishah Samara Karen Frey Understanding Drivers of Nitrate Variability in Rivers Across the US with Science on the Fly Woodwell Climate Research Center
Shiqi Tao John Rogan Mapping solar panel installations and exploring the associated environmental impacts in Massachusetts Massachusetts Audubon
Julia Wagner James McCarthy Response and Responsibility: Communicating civic environmental stewardship and climate resiliency knowledge and practice NYC Urban Field Station, US Forest Service
Xiangyu Wen Gil Pontius Validation and Accuracy Assessment of Flood Maps Generated from Multi-Sensor and Multi-Aspect Satellite Observational Systems Cloud to Street
Sitian Xiong Lyndon Estes Enabling Long-term Climate Impact Analysis Through Cross-sensor Based Remote Sensing Observation Radiant Earth Foundation
Aiyin Zhang Gil Pontius Methods to characterize changes in salt marshes of  estuarine ecosystems in response to sea level rise Department of Earth and Environment, Boston University
Applicant Faculty Adviser(s) Proposal Title Host Institution
Thomas Bilintoh Robert Pontius Methods to study long-term response of estuarine ecosystems to climate change University of South Carolina (Columbia, SC)
Melissa Bollman-Shih James McCarthy Achieving a just low-carbon transition in the United States: examining the impact of policy design Alliance for Green Heat (Takoma Park, MD)
Clare Gaffey Karen Frey The Effects of Novel Arctic Algae Double Blooms on Benthic Food Supply University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science (Solomons, MD)
Jaclyn Guz Dominik Kulakowski Climate Change’s Impact on Forest Resilience Texas Tech University (Lubbock, TX)
Ahna Knudson John Rogan Using GIS and Satellite Imagery to understand Climate Impacts at Local Scales: Tracking Urban Heat Island, Tree Cover, and Gas Leaks in Worcester, Massachusetts Worcester Tree Initiative (Worcester, MA)
Richard Kruger Deborah Martin Planning for Social and Ecological Resilience to Climate Change: Green Infrastructure, Land Tenure, and Environmental Governance in San Juan, Puerto Rico Corporacion del Proyedo Enlace del Cano Martin (San Juan, Puerto Rico)
Zhen Liu Robert Pontius The Total Operating Characteristic (TOC) for User-oriented Accuracy Assessment for the Flood Risk and Exposure Map Cloud to Street (Brooklyn NY)
Nathaniel Strosberg Mark Davidson Financing Public Infrastructure Improvements in the Context of Sea Level Rise (SLR): A Comparative Analysis of Two Cities Metropolitan Area Planning Council (Boston, MA)
Jessica Strzempko Robert Pontius Spatial Analysis Methods to Assess Changing Wetlands in the Watersheds of Plum Island Ecosystems (PIE) in Northeastern Massachusetts Earth Systems Research Center, University of New Hampshire (Durham, NH)
Li Xi Christopher Williams Avoided Deforestation Opportunity for Natural Climate Solutions across the Northeastern U.S. The Natural Conservancy (Northampton, MA)
Applicant Faculty Adviser(s) Proposal Title Host Institution
Michael Cecil Lyndon Estes Integrating In Situ Sensor Data with Remote Sensing and Climate Grids to Forecast Crop Growth Arable Decision Agriculture (Princeton, N.J.)
Kelsey Hope John Rogan Characterizing the 2018 Camp Fire Severity and Dynamics using Satellite Imagery and Field Inventory United States Forest Service Pacific Southwest Research Station (Davis, Calif.)
Sarah SanGiovanni Deborah Martin, James Murphy EcoDistrict Planning in the Pittsburgh Metro Region: The Sustainability Impacts of Neighborhood-Scale Climate Change Initiatives New Sun Rising (Pittsburgh, Penn.)
Dan Santos James Murphy Investigating Environmental Applications of Biotechnology in Community Science Labs BioCurious (Santa Clara, Calif.)
Mara van den Bold James McCarthy Examining the Policy and Funding Landscape for Climate Change Mitigation Among Washington D.C.-based Development Organizations International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) (Washington, D.C.)
Luisa Young Karen Frey Impacts of a Warming Arctic on Marine Phytoplankton Assemblages Oregon State University (Corvallis, Oregon)
Applicant Faculty Adviser(s) Proposal Title Host Institution
Nicholas Geron John Rogan An Urban Tree Planting Program for a Changing Climate Worcester Tree Initiative; Worcester, Massachusetts
Dylan Harris James McCarthy Telling the Story of Climate Change: Cultural Politics and Climate Communication Foxfire; Mountain City, Georgia
Surendra Shrestha Christopher Williams Modeling Land-Atmosphere Feedbacks from Drought and Wildfire Disturbances using Community Earth System Model (CESM) National Center for Atmospheric Research; Boulder, Colorado
Connor Stephens John Rogan Does Land Ownership Influence Post-Wildfire Forest Recovery? United States Forest Service (USFS) Pacific Southwest Research Station; Davis, California
Brittany Lauren Wheeler Deborah Martin Climate-Induced Migration to the United States The Environmental Law Program (ELP) of the William S. Richardson School of Law, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Applicant Faculty Adviser(s) Proposal Title Host Institution
Savannah Cooley Christopher Williams Assessing the Impact of Drought and Evaluating Potential Contributions of ECOSTRESS Evapotranspiration Data to Improve Agricultural Water Management NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL); Pasadena, California
Marc Healy John Rogan Applying GIS to Quantify Marsh Dynamics in the Plum Island Ecosystem Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation; Worcester, Massachusetts
Sam Khallaghi R. Gil Pontius Mapping Marsh Dynamics in Coastal Ecosystems Georgia Coastal Ecosystems Long Term Ecological Research (LTER) Site, Skidaway Institute of Oceanography (The University of Georgia); Savannah, Georgia
Yu Zhou Christopher Williams Fusing Aboveground Biomass Measurements with a Biogeochemical Model to Improve Site-Level Forest Carbon Flux Estimates Harvard Forest Long Term Ecological Research (LTER) Site; Petersham, Massachusetts
Applicant Faculty Adviser(s) Proposal Title Host Institution
Erin Glennie J. Ronald Eastman Ecosystem Impacts of the El Niño Southern Oscillation Global Inventory Modeling and Mapping Studies (GIMMS) Lab, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center; Greenbelt, Maryland
Melishia Santiago Karen Frey Climate change Effects on Dissolved Organic Matter Distribution in the Pacific Arctic Region Department of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Science, Florida State University; Tallahassee, Florida
Su Ye R. Gil Pontius Applying GIS to Quantify Marsh Dynamics in the Plum Island Ecosystem Plum Island Ecosystem LTER Program, Marine Biological Laboratory; Woods Hole, Massachusetts
Zhiwen Zhu John Rogan Assessing the Near-Term Benefits of Tree Planting Initiatives Throughout “Gateway” Communities in the State of Massachusetts Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation; Worcester, Massachusetts
Applicant Faculty Adviser(s) Proposal Title Host Institution
Alida Cantor Jody Emel Rural-Urban Water Transfers in Southern California San Diego Coastkeeper; San Diego, California
Arthur Elmes John Rogan Tree Replanting Following the Asian Longhorned Beetle Tree Removal Program Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation; Worcester, Massachusetts
Nathan Gill Dominik Kulakowski Measuring Regeneration Density in Disturbed Forests University of Colorado; Boulder, Colorado
Applicant Faculty Adviser(s) Proposal Title Host Institution
Katherine Foo James McCarthy How does urban governance shape green infrastructure development? USDA Forest Service – Philadelphia Urban Field Station; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Dexter Locke Colin Polsky What is, what could be, and what is being done to get there? An examination of Philadelphia’s urban forest Urban Forestry and Ecosystem Management Division – Philadelphia Parks & Recreation; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Richard MacLean Christopher Williams Radiative Forcings from Albedo and Carbon Dynamics After Disturbance in Massachusetts Forests Harvard Forest Long Term Ecological Research (LTER) Site; Petersham, Massachusetts

About the Edna Bailey Sussman Fund

The Edna Bailey Sussman Fund was established in 1984 in New York through a bequest from the estate of Margaret Sussman in memory of her mother, Edna Bailey Sussman. Margaret Sussman was a 1934 graduate of Smith College and a successful artist. Her father, Dr. Otto Sussman, was president and director of American Metal Company, the predecessor of AMAX Inc. Mrs. Otto Sussman (Edna Bailey Sussman) became interested in environmental issues and Navajo Indian relations. As a result, the Edna Bailey Sussman Fund sponsors research and internships that apply hard science to solving existing environmental problems.

Contact Information

Graduate School of Geography

If you have questions about applying for an Edna Bailey Sussman Fund Graduate Research Fellowship, contact:
Office Information
  • Clark University School of Geography
    950 Main Street | Worcester, MA 01610

  • 1-508-793-7336