Oklahoma State University
Oklahoma State University captures unprecedented four Udall awards PDF  | Print |
Thursday, 08 April 2010 15:16
Oklahoma State University President Burns Hargis, left, congratulates OSU’s four Udall Scholars, Lauren White, Alesia Hallmark, Brooke Hill and Jeremy Bennett.

Oklahoma State University President Burns Hargis, left, congratulates OSU’s four Udall Scholars, Lauren White, Alesia Hallmark, Brooke Hill and Jeremy Bennett.

Click here for a video of the event it was announced they were recipients of the award.

(STILLWATER, OK., April 8, 2010) -- A remarkable four Morris K. Udall Foundation Scholarships have been awarded Oklahoma State University students this spring. Only 80 students nationwide are selected for this honor.

Receiving the awards were Jeremy Bennett of Yukon, Alesia Hallmark of Chandler, Brooke Hill of Hugoton, Kan., and Lauren White of Idabel.

“You are models for the rest of our students,” OSU President Burns Hargis told the students at a surprise announcement ceremony. “Student success is what OSU is about and we will point to you when we are out recruiting top students. Your legacy will live on for a long, long time. I also want to congratulate the faculty and staff who have supported these students.”

The Udall scholarship provides $5,000 for educational expenses to outstanding sophomores and juniors who are studying the environment and related fields, or are Native Americans or Alaska Natives in fields related to health care or tribal public policy. The four students will attend the Udall Scholar Orientation Weekend in Tucson, Ariz., in August where they will meet the other 2010 Udall Scholars.

The scholarship was created in 1992 to honor Congressman Morris K. Udall of Arizona. For three decades, the congressman fought to preserve and to protect the nation’s environment, public lands, and natural resources. He also was a champion of tribal self-governing rights for Native American and Alaska Natives.

“The enormity of the accomplishment of the students at OSU is almost impossible to comprehend,” said Dr. Bob Graalman, director of the OSU Office of Scholar Development and Recognition. “It is unlikely that we’ll ever see another competition with this kind of result because of how competitive these programs are.”

Graalman said the students’ undergraduate research is the key to their accomplishment, and credits their faculty mentors as a “well-kept OSU secret.”

The application process includes an 800-word essay on a significant public speech, legislative act or public policy statement by Congressman Udall and its relationship to their interests or coursework.

Jeremy Bennett
Bennett, an environmental science junior and a member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation, was a Udall Congressional Intern last summer and hopes to work in Indian health care.

“There are many factors that contribute to obesity among American Indian children, but none more important than failing to educate mothers and teach children the importance of healthy lifestyles in schools,” he said.

Bennett believes Native Americans can find a balance between traditions and customs and the world changing around them.

Alesia Hallmark
Hallmark, a zoology and botany junior, wants to work in a high risk area like the tropics where conservation is needed.

“Without the faculty at OSU, I wouldn’t have been able to do everything I wanted. OSU faculty members are always open to work with me on research projects and be my mentors in the classroom and to help me get the career I want in the future,” she said.

Hallmark plans to pursue a career in conservation research to help ensure the protection of organisms and their environment. Brooke Hill Hill, a psychology junior, has worked in the OSU clinical neuroscience lab for the past two years and hopes to complete a doctorate in clinical psychology specializing in addiction medicine. She hopes to advance and promote culturally-sensitive treatment of nicotine dependence for Native Americans.

“It is well known that tobacco is the leading preventable cause of death,” Hill said. “What is not so well known is that the prevalence of nicotine dependence among Native Americans is higher than the national average.”

Lauren White
White, an environmental science junior and a graduate of the Oklahoma School of Science and Math, said she would rather be at OSU than anywhere else.

“I am completely overwhelmed with the opportunities I have had as a student at OSU,” she said.

She plans to pursue policy and litigation work for a non-profit or government organization that focuses on environmental justice for underrepresented communities and at the same time promotes sustainable business growth.

“I believe this combination is the best preparation for my future in environmental policy. I will then pursue a master’s degree in environmental sociology or sustainable business, and go to law school, specializing in environmental law,” White said.