Meghana Tummala, an undergraduate at the A. Alfred Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning, is this year's Wallenberg Fellow! The Wallenberg Fellowship provides $25,000 for a U-M senior to complete a self-designed fellowship project anywhere in the world the year after graduation. The fellowship honors Wallenberg, a noted U-M alumnus who, as a diplomat during World War II, helped save the lives of tens of thousands of Jews during the Holocaust.
In 2022, Meghana went on a study abroad trip to observe the effects of climate change in Mexico City. She will return in 2023 as a Wallenberg Fellow, noting, "I thought that by finishing the drawing, I’d be able to move on to whatever the next chapter of my life had to offer, but I couldn’t stop thinking about Mexico City...I wanted to do more than observe the conditions but engage with communities to understand how they take to particular solutions. I wanted to have genuine conversations with the communities there who face the brunt of the impacts. I wanted to go back.”
Meghana believes the Wallenberg Fellowship will be transformational in giving her new perspectives and the skillset to respectfully and non-invasively engage with communities. She plans to get involved in architectural projects that positively impact underrepresented communities. When asked why she applied, she said, "I always knew that after graduating I never wanted to fall into firms perpetuating inaccessible architecture. Rather I hoped to use my varied interests as a set of tools to help me pursue my goals in community based design, which is why I applied to the Wallenberg Fellowship. More specifically, Mexico City right now is facing a unique set of problems associated with water, from drought, flooding, and lack of access to clean water...I plan to approach the city, not with the mindset that I can solve all their problems, but rather take the time to better understand how this problem is affecting locals, how all these different groups are working to address the issues, and catalog a universal guide that can be a resource to other cities and countries facing their own ecological issues. I hope that by connecting with locals, I can help alongside the other problem solvers to change the perception around water."
To learn more about Meghana's project, read this article from the University Record.