Community Engagement Award



The ESPP Community Engagement Award (CEA) is designed to recognize student efforts to directly engage with affected communities. The environmental science and policy-relevant research, creative, or teaching activity within which the engagement occurs need not be led by the student, but the application should detail the student’s specific contribution and commitment to community engagement. Self-nominations are encouraged. 


Nominees must be:

  • currently enrolled in a graduate program at Michigan State University,
  • currently enrolled in one of ESPP’s graduate programs (i.e., Dual Major Degree Program, Master’s Specialization, or Modeling Certificate).
ESPP encourages nominations that demonstrate:
  • impact on communities (letters of support are encouraged—see below),
  • and the student’s internalized commitment to community engagement in the environmental science and policy context.
Application Materials

To apply, students must send an email to with the subject line, “ESPP CEA Nomination”, and a single PDF containing the following information in the order noted below. All application materials must be submitted by 11:59pm on November 15th, annually.

  • Community Engagement Nomination (approximately 1000 words). Nominations should explicitly describe the community engagement efforts and specify the student’s role within them. Particular attention should be paid to the student’s role in designing/leading the effort, if appropriate, or the extent to which the student is engaged in activities above and beyond what would be expected of a research or teaching assistant. It should be clear from the application materials that the nominee is not simply successfully performing tasks as assigned but that their efforts reflect an internalized commitment to community engagement.
  • Short Research, Creative, or Teaching Activity Description (approximately 300 words). If relevant, nominations should briefly describe the goals and approach of the broader research, creative, or teaching activity in which the student’s community engagement efforts are situated. The lead and the student’s roles should be clearly noted.
  • Letters of Support (optional). A maximum of three, brief (less than two page) letters of support may be included to help demonstrate the student’s impact or commitment to community engagement.
  • Current CV or resume. Applications should include a current CV or resume for the nominee.

The ESPP Graduate Program Council will review proposals and make recommendations to the ESPP Director based on the encouraged criteria listed above. The ESPP Director will make final award decisions based on the reviews and availability of funding. Recipients will be notified by the 15th of December.

2023 Recipient

Jessica Brunacini

Congratulations to the 2023 ESPP Community Engagement Award recipient Jessica Brunacini. Jessica is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Community Sustainability and the Environmental Science and Policy Program. The ESPP Graduate Program Council recommended Jessica for this award for her excellent community-engage research and practice on climate adaptation and deliberative processes.