ECO Program Funding


Through CIGLR’s Engagement, Career Training, and Outreach (ECO) Program, we are offer awards to support undergraduate or graduate students who incorporate an engagement, career training, or outreach component into their research. The ECO program component must highlight the contributions of NOAA, CIGLR, and CIGLR’s Regional Consortium Partners to research and management of the Great Lakes for the good of its people. Examples include, but are not limited to, Congressional visits, op-ed articles, K‐12 education activities, community outreach events, public education talks, establishment of social media sites or feeds, factsheets, newsletters, or magazines. We particularly encourage proposals that include a DEIJ element, such as outreach to underserved or minority groups, education programs in underresourced school districts, or policy engagement on environmental justice issues. For information about CIGLR’s ECO Program, visit

2024 ECO Program Awards – request for proposals
proposal deadline January 31, 2024

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Current ECO Awards

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Project Title: Media with impact: Building a community-driven model for drinking water news coverage

Key Project Personnel: Students: Hira Ahmad, Francesca Levethan, Hannah Rieders, Madeline Rieders, Kausthubh Sumanth; Faculty Advisor: Dr. Mike Shriberg (

About: This Master’s Project is a collaboration between the student research team at the University of Michigan School for Environment and Sustainability and Great Lakes Now (GLN), a regional media initiative serving the Great Lakes Basin. The goal of this project is to develop an equity-centered, community-driven media model that connects journalists with affected stakeholders through the production of three core deliverables. First, our project team will partner with the Great Lakes Now team, affiliate news organizations, and frontline communities to identify best practices for community-engaged environmental media and solutions journalism. Second, we will develop an impact assessment toolkit to help media organizations define and achieve their goals, measure their outcomes, and rebuild and refocus newsrooms’ commitment to equitable journalism. Lastly, we will convene a community advisory board of regional NGOs, grassroots leaders, and other core stakeholders to support the development and equitable implementation of these tools, which will highlight local water issues and their solutions. By implementing best practices for equitable community engagement and impactful journalism, our project will equip regional newsrooms to uplift Great Lakes communities’ stories in a positive and solutions-oriented manner. This will help to foster relationships built on trust and collaboration between local communities and news sources. In this way, Great Lakes Now will serve as a case study demonstrating the power of collaborative partnerships between local media and affected communities to increase public awareness and mobilization on water problems nationwide. 

Project Title: Empowering Underrepresented Students with GIS

Key Project Personnel: Students: Alyssa Sklar and Robert Davis; Faculty Advisor: Meha Jain

About: A number of user-friendly modules will be created for Earth Camp to teach high-school students the basics of ArcGIS through mapping exercises exploring Great Lakes environmental issues being studied by CIGLR, with a focus on environmental justice issues. Each summer, Earth Camp, the Earth and environmental sciences high-school outreach program at UM, educates ~80 Wolverine Pathways students. 60 students take part in 1-week of summer programming with hands-on activities to expose students to Earth science topics. 20 students take part in a 4-week course taught on campus by Dr. Gregory Dick and Dr. Jenna Munson. Earth Camp has a proven track record of enrolling college-bound under-represented minority students (URM). Over 90% of Earth Camp students are minorities and over 50% are Black. 100% go on to attend college, and 95% major in a STEM field. Earth Camp alumni who attend UM Ann Arbor, Flint, or Dearborn, become part of UM’s Earth Scholars program and are supported by staff through monthly mentoring meetings. Part of this mentorship involves helping Earth Scholars find jobs in research laboratories. The Earth Scholars program has successfully placed 6 former Earth Camp students in research labs as undergraduates. One of these students, Erica Pillar (a Hispanic woman who was in the first Earth Camp cohort and graduated in 2022), is now a laboratory technician at CIGLR under Dr. Casey Godwin. Additionally, a current Earth Scholar, and Black woman, is applying for the CIGLR Summer Fellows Program. Earth Camp is an ideal pipeline to attract diverse students to CIGLR and NOAA as there is strong interest in environmental science among Earth Camp participants. Earth Camp students are lacking GIS skills that will help them be competitive in today’s job market. These ArcGIS modules we are proposing can help the next generation of URM environmental scientists become comfortable with ArcGIS so they are more likely to take a college course with a GIS component, or will gain the knowledge to make basic GIS maps for classes, and eventually can be competitive for jobs requiring GIS knowledge.