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OHIO student among 55 to receive Udall Scholarship


Ohio University student Rachel Martin has been selected for a Udall Scholarship for her demonstrated commitment and work in leadership, public service, and the environment. A second student, Winter Wilson, received an honorable mention.

The Udall Foundation awards scholarships, fellowships and internships for study in fields related to the environment and to Native Americans and Alaskan Natives in fields related to health care and tribal public policy.

Martin is among 55 students from 50 colleges and universities to have been selected as a 2019 Udall Scholar. A 14-member independent review committee selected this year's group of Udall Scholars on the basis of commitment to careers in the environment, Native health care, or Tribal public policy; leadership potential; record of public service; and academic achievement. The review committee also awarded 55 Honorable Mentions.

Martin is a junior majoring in environmental studies with minors in political science and biological science. Martin said she grew up in a coal-centered community in West Virginia where she saw first-hand the environmental degradation that can come from human activity. 

She is interested in studying best practices to help vulnerable ecosystems and endangered species, particularly along the coasts and marine ecosystems.

 “When I think about ecosystems that need the most help, or that we know so little about so we can’t manage them effectively, I think of our oceans. They are some of the major parts of the world where we don’t even know some of the species that live there, and we definitely don’t know how everything interacts with our oceans,” Martin said.

Martin will spend this summer working an internship in a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration research lab in Miami, Florida, focusing on coastal ecosystems and using science as a management tool for south Florida. She hopes to attend graduate school after finishing her undergraduate degree.

There were 443 eligible applicants nominated for the Udall Scholarship this year, including 431 from four-year institutions.

Each scholarship provides up to $7,000 for the Scholar’s junior or senior year. Since the first awards in 1996, the Udall Foundation has awarded 1,678 scholarships totaling $8,475,000.

The 2019 Udall Scholars will assemble Aug. 6-11 in Tucson, Arizona, to meet one another and program alumni; learn more about the Udall legacy of public service; and interact with community leaders in environmental fields, Tribal health care, and governance.

This is the fifth year in a row OHIO has had a Udall Scholarship winner, and 10 overall have been received, along with four honorable mentions.