Students awarded grants from Ford C3, Sharon Ram fund, & more

We are proud of our students who are taking the initiative to find outside funding to support their interdisciplinary research and have meaningful community impact. See below for some of the recent awards our students have received. Congratulations!!


Trainees Adam Pruett and Natalie Lyon received $25k from the Ford C3 (College Community Challenge) to support their work with the Detroit Biodiversity Network. They plan to engage students in green stormwater infrastructure projects on campus in collaboration with Detroit Future City. Check out the video below –


Trainees Darrin Hunt, Slava Pallas, and Natalie Lyon received $2.5k from the Sharon L. Ram Aquatic Sciences Fund to purchase equipment for their field research on invasive species in urban parks.


Trainee Brittanie Dabney was awarded a grant from the Ford Community Corps to continue her work with Chandler Park Conservancy on designing and developing solutions for stormwater management in the park.


In collaboration with the Detroit Biodiversity Network, trainee Jonathan Weyhrauch was awarded a grant form the Million Trees Project for his non-profit organization, ReRoot Pontiac, to plant 50 burr oak trees in their outdoor gallery and community space.


We look forward to more community partnerships this year!

A quick look at what our students have been up to!

  • Camille, Colleen, and Brendan chaired a session at IAGLR this week on urban groundwater through the lens of urban sustainability and interdisciplinary research. More…
  • Students from Cesar Chavez Academy High School visited the T-RUST labs for a hands-on workshop, learning about microplastics, aquatic ecology, and cool science equipment! More…
  • Zoha Siddiqua gave a talk at Healthy Urban Waters on her project investigating contaminants of emerging concern (CECs) in water. More…
  • T-RUST students Brendan O’Leary, Natalie Lyon, and Camille Akemann presented at the Heathy Urban Waters Symposium, supported in part by the Erb Family Foundation. More…
  • T-RUST fellow, Hector, and past fellow, Orlando, presented research at the Association for the Sciences of Limnography and Oceanography conference in San Juan, Puerto Rico! More…

Spring advisory board meeting in the books!

We marked the end of the semester with our biannual T-RUST Advisory Board meeting. Dr. Steffi Hartwell, Dean of WSU’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, opened the meeting and highlighted T-RUST’s interdisciplinary work & community engagement as emblematic of the current goals of CLAS. Students presented their research projects and received valuable community input. Many advisory board members also signed up to be on student advisory groups to provide regular guidance on student projects. There were over 40 attendees at the meeting, including new collaborators from Detroit Future City and Chandler Park Conservancy, as well as representatives from WSU’s Master of Public Health Program.

Thank you to everyone who came out! We appreciate the feedback provided by the advisory board members and look forward to furthering our community collaborations!

Successful microplastics advisory board meeting!

The WSU microplastics team kicked off their first advisory board meeting last week, engaging with community members and stakeholders to foster a greater understanding of microplastics issues in the Great Lakes. The project is led by several T-RUST faculty members, including Yongli Zhang, Carol Miller, and Donna Kashian. Many T-RUST students are also involved in engaging the community around the issues of microplastics in our waters. The meeting involved breakout workshops to identify key issues and solicit feedback on project progression.

T-RUST co-PI Dr. Guerra-Lopez named interim dean of the Graduate School

We are proud to announce that our very own Dr. Ingrid Guerra-Lopez, professor in the College of Education, has been named interim dean of the Graduate School! As co-PI of T-RUST, Dr. Guerra-Lopez has been instrumental in the design and implementation of our NSF-funded program. Congratulations, Dr. Guerra-Lopez!

The following is an announcement from the Provost and Sr. Vice President for Academic Affairs, Keith E. Whitfield:

I’m pleased to announce that Ingrid Guerra-Lopez, Ph.D., has been selected to serve as interim dean of the Graduate School at Wayne State University. She will begin her term on Feb. 13, 2019, and take over for Ambika Mathur, Ph.D., who is leaving the university.

Guerra-Lopez is a professor in the College of Education at Wayne State. She came to WSU in 2005. Her area of expertise is in learning and performance systems, with an emphasis on strategic alignment and evaluation. She has served in a number of leadership roles, including editor-in-chief of the peer-reviewed journal Performance Improvement Quarterly, senior educational strategy advisor to the World Bank, and human and institutional capacity development advisor for the United States Agency for International Development. Additionally, she is Co-PI of T-RUST, a National Science Foundation-funded WSU interdisciplinary graduate training program, and served on the board of directors of the International Society for Performance Improvement. She has served on university committees including the Appointment, Promotion and Tenure Committee; Strategic Implementation Committee; WSU Centers and Institutes Advisory Committee; Strategic Planning Budget Committee; and Junior Faculty Presidential Advisory Board.

In the coming weeks, we will begin a formal search for a permanent dean.  In the meantime, we will rely on Guerra-Lopez to guide the Grad School until the search process has been completed. Please join me in thanking her for serving in this important role.

AGU Grant Awarded to T-RUST Cohort

T-RUST Grantees

Congratulations to T-RUST Trainees, Brendan O’Leary, Colleen Linn, and Camille Akeman on the awardation of their new grant from the  American Geophysical Union (AGU)!  The cohort proposed the following:

“As members of the NSF-NRT funded Transformative Research in Urban Sustainability Training (T-RUST) program at Wayne State, we plan to host a series of sessions as a team about best practices in interdisciplinary research and to further explore how to make the interdisciplinary research process more efficient. This project will help us achieve this by exposing us to academics and leaders in a professional development context. Our research addresses groundwater quality in Southeastern Michigan—an issue largely overlooked due to the region’s reliance on its surface water resources. The team will host scholarly sessions with the theme of groundwater quality at each researcher’s professional conferences to examine the process of interdisciplinary collaboration; its challenges and rewards and identify and discuss best practices.”

We are excited to see their progress moving forward!

Water@Wayne with Lisa Perez

Lisa Perez and Guest

Another successful Water@Wayne with Advisory Board member and program specialist for the US Forest Services, Lisa Perez. Lisa Perez serves as a program specialist with the US Forest Service, Eastern Region. Working as Detroit Urban Connections Coordinator since 2009, she works with partners to  create opportunities to connect urban residents with nature, both in their backyards, neighborhood parks and National Forests.  Prior to this work, she served in the Intermountain Region as Conservation Education Coordinator for the 2002 Olympic Planning Team and Logan Ranger District of the Wasatch Cache National Forest, positions which required many different jobs, some of the most memorable being from writing a movie script for Bill Nye the Science Guy, coordinating an international environmental education awards program, surveying 51 potential wild and scenic rivers, and driving a dump truck.

Join us for the next installment in our Water@Wayne series when Dr April Beisaw will speak about the archaeology of New York City’s watershed  communities on February 21st from 2:30 to 4:00pm.