Gift supports PhD partnership with Gund Institute, undergraduate engineers

A $720,000 gift from alumnus Richard (‘66) and Elaine Barrett will expand opportunities for University of Vermont students seeking real-world solutions at the intersection of engineering and the environment. 

The gift creates the new Barrett Doctoral Fellows program, a PhD partnership between UVM’s newly expanded Gund Institute for Environment and the College of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences (CEMS). It will also strengthen the existing Barrett Scholarships program for undergraduate CEMS students.

“We share with the Gund Institute and UVM the concerns for our environment,” says Richard Barrett (’66). “The example for preservation of Vermont’s natural beauty and resources is appropriately set by its own University.”

“We are very grateful for the Barrett family’s continued commitment to creating outstanding opportunities for UVM students,” says Linda Schadler, Dean of the College of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences. “I am excited to see the findings that come from this research, and look forward to following the paths of the students as they build a career based on this unique experience.”

The new Barrett Doctoral Fellows program – which seeks applicants for Fall 2019 – will enable CEMS PhD students to conduct interdisciplinary research on global environmental issues in collaboration with Gund Institute researchers. These PhD students will also mentor undergraduate Barrett Scholars.

“This new partnership provides exciting opportunities for students to tackle urgent global issues facing Vermont, the U.S. and the world,” says Taylor Ricketts, Director of the Gund Institute for Environment, a UVM-wide research accelerator. “This promising new program is an important model for future collaborations across UVM.”

The gift also bolsters Barrett Undergraduate Scholarships, which give CEMS students hands-on experience and mentorship in environmental engineering. Supporting 5-7 projects each summer, Barrett Scholars have conducted cutting-edge research on nanowires for solar cells, groundwater phosphorus, biogas particulate, and UVM’s augmented reality sandbox.

The Barrett Doctoral Fellows gift contributes to the Gund Family Challenge. The Gunds will make an additional $4M donation if UVM raises $8M for the Gund Institute by 2022.

Apply to become a Barrett Doctoral Fellow or Barrett Undergraduate Scholar. Explore all Gund PhD opportunities.