2023 Pelham Scholars Cohort


Pelham Scholars are socially-conscious engineers seeking to expand their education to solve society’s most pressing problems. We’re looking for students who share our commitment to diversity—in people and ideas. Pelham Scholars receive one-on-one mentorship with industry professionals and an education that prepares students for a successful and rewarding career as an industry thought leader. As a Pelham Scholar, you’ll be joining a close-knit campus community of faculty, staff, students and industry leaders who are invested in your success.

At the graduate level, being a Pelham Scholar provides you two semesters of free tuition. Undergraduate Pelham Scholars are not funded, but actively participate in the program’s DEI-themed events, career coaching, and mentoring. Undergraduate Scholars who stay in CEE for their Master’s degree are automatically considered for Pelham funding during their graduate degree when applying to begin their graduate studies in the fall semester. Please note that there is no winter review of graduate-level applications for the Pelham Scholars Program. Master’s students who begin their degree in January will be automatically considered for Pelham funding the following fall semester.

Who was Frederick Pelham?

The first Black Michigan engineering graduate established a sturdy reputation for designs that last.


  • Two semesters of fully funded tuition at the graduate level
  • One-on-one industry mentorship
  • Networking with industry sponsors and learning about their values and culture, as you explore opportunities for potential internships and employment
  • A people-centered lens into your engineering practice in an effort to close societal gaps
  • Access to faculty, department and professional leadership that broadens opportunities
  • A chance to interact regularly with your Pelham cohort and participate in meetings, workshops and networking opportunities
Portrait of Xiao Xiao Wen
Xiao Xiao Wen

“As a Pelham Scholar, I felt more connected to the CEE community. I joined the program in my sophomore year, right after I transferred from LSA. I initially joined the program feeling somewhat lost within engineering, and I hoped to forge connections within the department and perhaps make some friends.

The program exceeded my expectations, helping me feel part of a supportive community. It offers students networking opportunities and workshops aimed at fostering personal and professional growth— helping us students succeed academically.

I’m really grateful for this community and I truly think it helped set me up for success as a CEE student.”

Xiao Xiao Wen, Pelham Scholar 2022-2023

What are we looking for?

The Pelham Scholars Program is open to newly admitted students in a graduate degree program who:

  • Have a record of superior academic achievement (e.g., grade point average, honors or other designation);
  • Are U.S. citizens, permanent residents or undocumented students with Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA)

And meet one or more of the following criteria:

  • Come from an educational, cultural or geographic background that is underrepresented in graduate study in CEE in the United States or at the University of Michigan;
  • Have demonstrated a sustained commitment to diversity in the academic, professional or civic realm through their work experience, volunteer engagement or leadership of student or community organizations. By commitment to diversity, we mean efforts in the U.S. to reduce social, educational or economic disparities based on race, ethnicity or gender, or to improve race relations in the U.S.;
  • Have experienced financial hardship as a result of family economic circumstances;
  • Are first-generation U.S. citizens or are the first generation in their families to graduate from a four-year college.


As a graduate student: You can find the application for our MSE and MEng programs here. Please note that there is no separate application for the Pelham Scholars Program – by applying to one of our master’s programs for fall matriculation, you will automatically be considered for the Pelham Scholars Program. Again, Pelham Scholars program funding decisions are only made in the fall; students who begin in January will be considered for funding for the following fall semester.  

As an undergraduate student: Juniors and seniors in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering who show academic excellence coupled with an exemplary commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) are invited to apply to be Undergraduate Pelham Scholars annually in December. Please note there is no funding for students at the undergraduate level.

About the Pelham Scholars

Pelham Scholars participate in a range of activities designed to prepare them for careers as engineering professionals who bring fluency in themes of diversity, equity and inclusion into industry. Specifically, alongside their studies, Pelham Scholars explore how to center people in their technical projects, and use engineering practice to close societal gaps. Through career advising and academic and professional mentoring, they are well-positioned to launch their careers upon graduation and begin putting theory into practice.

Pelham Scholars Are…

  • Passionate about driving DEI initiatives forward in the field of engineering
  • Socially conscious engineers committed to diversity
  • Open to learning about other people’s backgrounds and differences
  • Community builders willing to expand their horizons

Pelham Scholars Cohort Members for Academic Year 2023-2024

Master’s Students – Funded

  • David Burby (SUGS, Civil MSE)
  • Aymeric Destree (Civil MSE)
  • Ethan Hiss (CEM MEng)
  • Ann Kilts (Environmental MSE)
  • Sterling Knight (Environmental MSE)
  • Joseph Majchrzak (CEM MEng)
  • Julien Malherbe (Environmental MSE)
  • Jose Marquez (Structural MEng)
  • Carston Yaw (SUGS, Civil MSE)

Master’s Students – Funding complete

  • Justin Avila
  • Isis Hang
  • Chenwei Huang
  • Jeff Manner
  • Arnulfo Pelayo
  • Seth Sandoval-Skeet

Undergraduate Students

  • Gauri Jere
  • Brianna (Celtica) Jimenez
  • Jenna Kutscher
  • Madylin McLean
  • Wanxuan Ming
  • Ghassaq Nassir
  • Lily Pegg

Industry Partners

We would like to thank our industry partners for their generous support of the Pelham Scholars Program:

Barton Malow



OHM Advisors

Become an industry partner

If you are interested in becoming an industry partner or otherwise supporting the Pelham Scholars Program, please contact Melanie Zauel ([email protected]).

Reach out

If you are interested in learning more about the Pelham Scholars Program, please contact:

Portrait of Rachel O'Brien

Rachel O’Brien

Faculty Advisor for Pelham Scholars Program

[email protected]

Jordan Marshall

DEI Program Coordinator

[email protected]