Michelle Lincoln

“I hope to be a leader, give support to others, and leave behind a legacy that will continue after I am gone.”

Michelle Lincoln is guided by the question: what can I do for those made invisible through oppression and injustice? Michelle grew up in California with her mother, siblings, and grandparents, where she was loved and supported by her family but challenged by the social and systematic racism of being a Black person in a predominantly white town. This experience, and being a first-generation college student from a low-income family, motivated Michelle to help others and address systemic injustices.

With that goal in mind, Michelle has pursued learning, work, and change at the intersection of environmental science and urban planning. For several years in Washington, D.C. at the World Wildlife Fund, Michelle worked to address issues in global food supply chains, environmentally conscientious disaster recovery, and renewable energy while independently learning about urban planning and the struggle that people of color face in American cities. In 2019, Michelle followed her desire to work more closely with communities and people and left Washington, D.C. to pursue master’s degrees in urban and regional planning and environmental science at the University of Michigan.

At U-M, Michelle is known for her “boundless energy” and “strong moral compass.” She has been recognized with a Rackham Merit Fellowship, Bunyan Bryant Scholarship Award for Environmental Justice, and a community engagement award for her participation in the Sojourner Truth workshop. She has additionally served as president of the People of the Global Majority for the Environment and on the executive board for the 2020-21 Agora Urban Planning & Design Journal. In 2021, her article “The City Plantation: The Great Migration and Funding the Growing City” was published in the Agora journal.

Michelle, now based in Minneapolis, is focused on building community relationships and finishing her American Institute of Certified Planners certification. Michelle says, “I hope to be a leader, give support to others, and leave behind a legacy that will continue after I am gone.”

CEW+ applauds Michelle’s commitment to bettering her communities and names her a Margaret Dow Towsley Scholar.