Some of the students working on research projects during Fall 2020 are highlighted below.
This past semester, Andrew Cox (BA '22) provided consulting to the Port of Monroe, Michigan's only port on Lake Erie, alongside a team of fellow Ford students. The scope of their project was to identify and evaluate alternative markets (cement, asphalt, fertilizer, etc.) to reuse coal bottom ash from DTE's Monroe Power Plant, rather than send the ash to a landfill. This required navigating Michigan's state laws and regulations pertaining to the transportation, storage, and beneficial use of bottom ash, as well as assessing the transportation and handling costs borne by the Port in sending the ash to each respective market.
Nishat Farzana (MPP '21) and a team of students worked with the Port of Monroe, Michigan, to explore the prospect of transporting bottom ash, a coal combustion byproduct, from DTE’s Monroe Power Plant to beneficial use markets. The team's research covered a thorough analysis of several beneficial use markets of bottom ash, specifically in the Great Lakes Region, with the ultimate goal of recommending the most feasible options for the Port. Their research process consisted of a systematic review of primary literature, interviewing industry experts, identifying and analyzing relevant policy, and producing cost analyses. The team identified several beneficial uses for the bottom ash, including cement and asphalt for road construction, fertilizer and soil conditioner, and wastewater treatment. From a cost perspective, the team's concluded that cement and asphalt for road construction was the most beneficial market for the Port.
Julia Johnston (BA '22) worked on a project with the Port of Monroe, Michigan, which looked into beneficial use markets for coal bottom ash. With a team of Ford students, she learned how to review environmental policy and assess the feasibility of markets based on several criteria. Their project culminated in a lengthy research paper and a presentation with recommendations to the Port. She is grateful for this experience because it provided her with an introduction to environmental consulting.
Mariam Sayeed (MPP '21) and Molly Kalb (BA '21) partnered with Michigan-based nonpartisan, nonprofit organization Voters Not Politicians (VNP). As part of the new redistricting initiative in Michigan, an independent Citizens' Commission will be redrawing Michigan district lines, with the help of testimonies from Communities of Interests from across the state. In order to inspire Communities of Interest to participate in these new redistricting measures, the team created a short video highlighting the impacts of communities from other states' successful redistricting. This included testimonials from organizations in California and Arizona, showcasing the impact redistricting has had on those often marginalized communities. The video will be shown to organizations across Michigan in order to underline the importance of having an active role in defining communities in order to increase equity when electing representatives.
Michael Ocasio (BA ‘21) and his team started their research in the fall and are continuing their work in winter term, researching and cataloging the public sector resources available to microbusinesses in Detroit and Southeast Michigan at the local, state, and federal levels. With the help of the New Economy Initiative and the City of Detroit, the team is conducting interviews with key stakeholders and looking at comparative cities and states to identify policies and programs that lead to a successful micro business ecosystem.