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Novacheck Selected as Recipient of Dow Sustainability Fellow Program

Joshua Novacheck

Joshua Novacheck, a graduate student pursuing a dual degree from both Mechanical Engineering and the School of Natural Resources & Environment, has been selected as one of 2014’s Dow Sustainability fellowship members. Forty students from a pool of seventy-two nominees were chosen, reported the University Record on January 22nd.

In 2012, Dow Chemical Company joined the University’s Graham Sustainability Institute in an initiative to support advances in the field of sustainability. The Dow Sustainability Fellow Program ultimately brings three hundred students — graduate, doctoral, and postdoctoral — together from various disciplines, providing them with funds to address the major sustainability challenges that face both the local and global communities.

Over the course of the next six years, Dow Chemical will allot the University a cumulative total of ten million dollars. Additionally, the program encourages communication between these students over a longer period of time, creating a green community that combines the talent and focus of each individual. Each cohort meets at least once a month to coordinate ideas and address current challenges both worldwide and at the University.

This year marks the fellowship’s second cohort. Forty students from eight different University colleges were chosen to become members of the program, thereby receiving twenty thousand dollars each.

Novacheck received his Bachelors of Science in Applied Physics from St. John’s University in 2010 and entered the University to begin his dual studies in 2012.

On his SNRE profile page, Novacheck explained why he was drawn to a career in sustainability. “I've always enjoyed engineering and math, but without rooting it in a real world, we will never truly be able to understand how to make positive change,” Novacheck said. “By pursuing the dual degree in Sustainable Systems and Mechanical Engineering, I hope to be able to use my engineering tools to make a positive impact.”

Currently, Novacheck is working on a project entitled, “Evaluation of Alternative Design Considerations for Renewable Portfolio Standards,” which began this January and is expected to be complete in August 2014. Such research is aimed toward updating the Renewable Portfolio Standard, a statewide regulation that calls for an increase in the use of renewable energies, such as wind for example.

The project cites the overview of the main problem that Novacheck is trying to address: by 2015, Michigan electric companies, in compliance with the 2008 Clean, Renewable, and Efficient Energy Act, must generate ten percent of their retail electricity sales from renewable sources. Novacheck’s project works to find ways to assist statewide companies in meeting these goals and even exceeding beyond them. The costs of putting such a plan in place will be calculated to better support the updated system in policy forums. His other research endeavors pertain to the integration of renewable energy to the grid, system optimization, and energy efficiency.

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