Environmental science

Two Penn Staters nominated for Udall Scholarship

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State juniors Alysha Ulrich and Olivia Krum were nominated for the national Udall Undergraduate Scholarship, which is open to Native Americans or Alaska Natives interested in tribal policy and Native health care and any undergraduate interested in conservation and environmental issues.

Krum, a Schreyer Scholar from Center Hall, Pennsylvania, is part of many environmentally oriented projects in both her majors of landscape architecture and parks and tourism management. In summer 2021, she worked with the University, National Park Service, and Leave No Trace Foundation as a research technician in Grand Teton and Yellowstone national parks, where she gathered visitor data on how to encourage safer and meaningful wildlife viewing experiences.

She is currently a research assistant for former Udall Scholar Morgan Krump and the National Park Service, conducting research on night sky pollution. Krum also is working with faculty in the Department of Landscape Architecture on a study that examines the ties between politics, design and environmental conservation.

“Through these experiences, I have gained a broad spectrum of tools working in social science and design that will help me achieve my goal as a public service professional and designer, such as the ability to synthesize many factors and complex ideas into a harmonious resolution, ” Krum said.

One of her long-term aspirations is to design landscapes that conserve natural resources and create accessible experiences for everyone.

“Receiving the Udall Award would connect me with a network of dedicated and passionate public service professionals who are as dedicated to the field of environmental justice and reform as I am,” she said.

Ulrich, of Oley, Pennsylvania, is a Schreyer Scholar majoring in earth science and policy with a minor in political science and a certificate in climate and environmental change.

From August to December last year, Ulrich worked under the direction of Michael Mann, distinguished professor of atmospheric science, in an independent research study on “exploring the impacts of climate change on the severity and cold temperature extremes exhibited by Nor’easter storms.” Last summer, Ulrich also wrote a literature review about the influence of misinformation about climate change on public perception.

“Undergraduate research has been a really powerful tool for me to refine my academic and professional interests,” Ulrich said. “I’ve learned valuable lessons about what I do and don’t want to pursue from each experience, and I’m equally grateful for both.”

Ulrich said she plans to enroll in a master’s program for environmental policy, and her current career goal is to contribute to the implementation of public policies that address climate change.

“Earning the Udall Scholarship would also serve as a testament to the unwavering support and encouragement of my parents throughout my academic career,” Ulrich said. “I will never be able to thank them sufficiently, but this award would certainly help in my efforts to try.”

About the Udall Undergraduate Scholarship

Those who earn a Udall Scholarship are provided with up to $7,000 for eligible academic expenses. Awardees are also invited to spend five days in Tucson, Arizona, at Scholar Orientation and have access to the Udall Alumni Network.

The scholarship is open to those who are Native American or Alaska Natives working on tribal policy issues or pursuing health-related careers, and to any undergraduate interested in conservation and environmental issues. To be considered, applicants must be a sophomore or a junior in college and a US citizen or US permanent resident.

The last Penn Stater to earn the Udall Scholarship was Tim Benally in 2020. Benally, of Ganado (Navajo Nation), Arizona, graduated with a degree in psychology in 2021.

Those interested in competing for a Udall Scholarship next year should contact Undergraduate Research and Fellowships Mentoring (URFM) to learn more about the scholarship program, verify that they meet the eligibility criteria, and begin the application process. A pre-application will be due toward the end of the fall semester, and an internal application due in mid-January.

Undergraduate Research and Fellowships Mentoring is part of Penn State Undergraduate Education.

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