Arch + Eng, Art, Design, Education, Sci + Tech, Social Impact

Welcoming our 2015 program Fellows

Through our prestigious Fellowship Program, BFI welcomes a small number of outstanding students and early-career practitioners to our team for four months each summer. The fellowship is designed as an interdisciplinary collaborative, and provides a unique opportunity to contextualize systems thinking through immersion in the Fuller Challenge cycle through research, writing, and dialog with BFI staff, partners, and senior advisors.

We are thrilled to introduce our 2015 Fellows: Vrinda Manglik and Melissa Kelly.

Vrinda is based in the SF Bay Area, and advocates for a global shift from fossil fuels to renewable energy through her work in the International Climate Program of the Sierra Club. In December 2013, she completed her Masters in Environmental Management from the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies, where environmental justice, community rights, and climate adaptation were key themes in her work.

“I’m very excited to read the creative submissions to the Buckminster Fuller Challenge, and to be inspired by the solutions that people envision for their communities and the world. I’m grateful for the opportunity to learn from innovative thinkers and problem-solvers through my BFI fellowship, and look forward to getting to know the team!”


Melissa is a sustainability consultant working in New York. After training as a physicist and studying climate change dynamics, she left the lab to explore the connections between social systems, natural resources, and physical environments. Melissa holds a Master’s degree in Renewable Energy and Architecture from the University of Nottingham, where she researched climate change-adaptive development strategies in European and Chinese contexts. A practicing artist, Melissa is a firm believer in the power of the creative process as a channel for positive, responsive interventions.

“The spaces where new ideas and existing systems interact are so empowering to explore: not only to find great solutions, but to witness people grow through reflection and analysis. ‘Okay, but have you thought about it from this angle’ is my favorite question to hear. The BFI Fellowship is an amazing opportunity to embrace systems thinking and engage with inspiring practitioners from all across the globe.”