Environmental Research Fellowships “TIE Fellows”

Matriculated graduate students at any of Tufts University’s graduate programs and professional schools are eligible to apply for TIE fellowships to conduct interdisciplinary environmental research projects. This is an opportunity to recognize and provide greater visibility for stellar interdisciplinary students and their work. Selected students will be receive funding toward a research stipend and/or supplies (up to $6000 per project). Students pursuing projects that focus on environmental research with a specifically interdisciplinary focus are especially encouraged to apply.

Deadline for TIE Fellowship proposals:

  • Master’s student proposals are due in February, 2017.
  • Ph.D. student proposals will be due in December, 2016.

The Request For Proposals for 2017-2018 TIE Fellows will be made public in October 2016. You can view the 2016-2017 Request for Proposals and download the 2016-2017 Evaluation Rubric and Budget Template.

Resources for Applicants: Tufts University’s Tisch Library has developed a thorough research guide for proposal development help. You can also email Megan Bresnahan, librarian and team lead for sciences and social sciences at Tisch Library, directly.

Curious what the current TIE Fellows have been up to? Take a look!

Eric Scott Ph.D. Candidate, Biology “A Tipping Point in the Effects of Herbivore Density on the Chemistry and Sensory Quality of Tea (Camilla sinensis)"

Eric Scott
Ph.D. Candidate, Biology

A Tipping Point in the Effects of Herbivore Density on the Chemistry and Sensory Quality of Tea (Camilla sinensis)

Oriental Beauty tea (Dōngfāng měirén) can only be produced using leaves from tea plants (Camellia sinensis) that have been attacked by the tea green leafhopper.  Attack by leafhoppers induces defenses in tea plants including an increase in volatile compounds that contribute to the finished tea’s unique flavor.  Farmers in Fujian Province, China, report that low leafhopper damage leads to a bitter tea lacking this characteristic flavor, and that very high leafhopper damage also leads to a low quality, bitter tea.  I conducted both observational and manipulative experiments to 1) identify compounds in tea that correlate with both quality and leafhopper damage and 2) to determine the effect of leafhopper density on the metabolome of tea leaves.  For the observational experiment, each morning that tea was harvested for two weeks I estimated leafhopper density and collected both fresh and finished tea.  For the manipulative experiment, I placed different densities of leafhoppers on branches of tea plants in mesh bags for 5 days.  At the end of 5 days I sampled volatiles with direct contact sorption and collected young leaves. Chemical analysis of samples including GC-GC/MS and LC-MS are ongoing.

Emma Schneider Ph.D. Candidate, English “Listening to Survive: Cultivating Storylisteners in North American Environmental Justice Literature”

Emma Schneider
Ph.D. Candidate, English
“Listening to Survive: Cultivating Storylisteners in North American Environmental Justice Literature”

Listening for Justice: Cultivating Listeners in North American Environmental Justice Literature

Emma studies Environmental Literature and Environmental Justice, focusing on contemporary North American novels and poetry. Her dissertation responds to the frequent calls for speaking out in Environmental Justice activism by beginning with the question: Who is listening? Emma’s work explores this question by integrating Sound, Literary, and Environmental Studies to consider how listening and environmental soundscapes are portrayed in literature and how literature’s imaginative environments provide opportunities for thinking beyond current ways of engaging with the environment. Rather than noting that someone does not have a voice, this listening framework asks why a voice isn’t heard. Emma’s dissertation, Listening for Justice, argues that environmental literature challenges the conventions that dictate how and to whom they listen. Emma builds her research on the work of Native American thinkers such as Leslie Marmon Silko, Linda Hogan, and Robin Wall Kimmerer as well as from sonic scholars such as acoustic ecologist R. Murray Schafer and sensory historian Mark Smith. She analyzes listening’s representation in relation to pressing environmental issues such as animal ethics, environmental racism, surface mining, and the theft and violation of Native lands and sacred sites. In addition to her dissertation research, Emma is deeply interested in promoting environmental literacy through place-based pedagogy and collaborating across disciplines toward this goal.

Program Highlights

Spring Lunches
Each spring incoming fellows meet for an introduction to  the TIE Fellowship Program. Bringing together members of the TIE community, outgoing fellows are invited to share their experiences and research projects with new fellows. Students are also given a review of the fellowship requirements, expectations, and an opportunity to ask questions about the fellowship.

Fall Retreat
At the beginning of the fall semester, fellows meet for a half-day retreat to share their experiences on research conducted over the summer. The event brings together fellows across multiple disciplines to exchange ideas and provide feedback on the challenges faced in their projects.

Annual Awards Ceremony
At the end of the fall semester Fellows, alumni, faculty and staff gather for dinner and formal reception to celebrate the ongoing accomplishments of TIE Fellows.

Fellows Presentations
By the end of the academic year, fellows present their research to the Tufts community at a range of environmental events: department seminars, thesis or dissertation presentations, the Environmental Studies Lunch and Learn, or Tufts Research Days.

End of Year Barbecue at TIE Director’s House
At the end of the spring semester fellows are invited to the TIE Director’s house for an informal end-of-year celebration.


Lauren O’Brien, Graduate Intern


“I’m very thankful for the TIE fellowship. It has been so important in my career already – it was the first fellowship that I was awarded that put a lot of trust in me as a scientist early in my graduate career. It was what I consider a ‘seed grant’ – it allowed me to collect the data that I later leveraged to get a National Science Foundation fellowship. I can’t thank TIE enough for it.”
— Anne Madden, Biology PhD candidate


Click to view previous annual cohorts by year: