Susan Cheng is the 2014 recipient of the Helen Olsen Brower Memorial Fellowship in Environmental Studies from EEB, awarded annually to a graduate student working in applied sciences for the conservation of natural resources. Cheng's advisor is Professor Knute Nadelhoffer.
Cheng’s research will define and quantify how clouds interact with forest canopies to control forest light availability, rates of photosynthesis, and total forest CO2 uptake. “I will also determine whether NASA satellite cloud data can be used to predict forest CO2 uptake across the globe,” said Cheng. “Overall, this is an interdisciplinary effort examining interactions among atmospheric and plant processes that will increase our understanding of ecosystem-climate interactions and how changes in those interactions may impact future climate.”
The prestigious award provides one semester of fellowship funding for stipend, tuition and benefits. Sally and Caspar Offutt, Jr., endowed this fellowship in tribute to Sally's mother who graduated in biology in 1917 from the University of Michigan. Brower led a vigorous public life touching on wide-ranging endeavors from politics to war relief. She invariably found her greatest satisfaction with projects involving the outdoors.