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Sunday, September 23, 2018

Academics & Research

Udall scholarship displays national competition, recognition


The start of the New Year means that scholarship season is in full swing for students.

Whether you’ve already applied, are in the process of applying or haven’t even started, deadlines for nationally competitive scholarships are looming. One scholarship in particular, the Morris K. Udall and Stewart L. Udall Scholarship, will spark a campus competition that will narrow down the top 6 applicants to represent UH nationally.

The Udall Scholarship is geared towards students interested in any area of environmental policy, Native American health care or tribal policy. Winners of the national competition are awarded a $5,000 scholarship and a trip to the Udall Scholar Orientation in Tucson, AZ during the summer for a chance to network with influential leaders.

“(The winners) will have access to the Udall Alumni Network,” Coordinator of Nationally Competitive Scholarships Jennifer Asmussen said. “The Alumni Network connects Scholars with environmental and tribal leaders, innovators, public servants (and) is also a great resource for internship and job opportunities.”

Students have until Feb. 9 to apply for the campus competition and must submit a completed Udall sample application, essay, college transcript and three letters of recommendation to the Office of Undergraduate Research. Faculty selection committee members will then review the applications to choose the top 6 contenders.

So far, the only UH student to win the national competition was environmental studies junior Vanessa Alejandro, who was chosen out of 489 applicants from across the United States and Puerto Rico last year. She won the environmental policy category and has moved on to create her own a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, Warriors of the Wild,  that she co-founded in 2012 in an effort to educate younger generations on the environment.

“I was inspired by nature to pursue a scientific career, and I want to spark that same curiosity in younger students,” Alejandro said earlier in 2014. “Not every student will be captivated, but it could change the lives of the ones who are. I want to motivate as many children as possible, just like my science teacher in elementary school inspired me.”

Asmussen said it’s nationally competitive scholars like Alejandro that shine the spotlight on UH.

“Winning a nationally competitive award demonstrates the potential of UH students to the campus and local communities,” Asmussen said.  “(And) it is a source of awareness, support, and inspiration for future Cougars.”

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