Jerimiah Booream-Phelps ’12, an economics and environmental studies double major, has been named a prestigious Udall Scholar – one of only 80 students selected nationwide. The Udall Scholarship, a highly selective award created to honor Congressman Morris K. Udall, is given to a student who exemplifies a deep commitment to the environment and who plans to pursue a career related to the environment.
“I’ve grown up caring about the environment,” says Booream-Phelps, whose earliest memories are of time spent with his mother while she nursed injured animals back to health in a wildlife rehabilitation center. “She would nurture these animals and rerelease them, and I guess I just thought: ‘That’s how people should act,'” explains Booream-Phelps. “As I got older, I realized that not everyone was raised like that; I’m now fully aware that not everyone has as deep a respect and connection with the environment.”
When Booream-Phelps arrived on campus, he hadn’t planned on melding his interest in the environment with economics. However, while taking an environmental studies course on energy his first semester, he felt compelled by the divide between the environmental and corporate worlds. “I saw this disconnect between business and the world of environmentalism – they don’t often see eye to eye,” Booream-Phelps explains. “I thought that if I could connect these worlds and bridge that gap, it could benefit everybody.”
Fueled by a Principles of Economics class, Booream-Phelps has created an ambitious career goal. “I started thinking about what really has large, wide-ranging effects on our world. What compels business, fundamentally, is finance,” he says. “Now I am deeply committed to speeding the transition away from America’s dependence on fossil fuels and toward renewable energy. I see the greatest potential for change through working in the financial world to connect companies seeking to invest in renewable technologies with the funds they need to do so.”
On campus, Booream-Phelps is a member of Campus Greens; a representative for the President’s Climate Task Force, which seeks to implement climate action plans on campus through an adherence to guidelines established with students, faculty and staff; and most recently, a tutor and core facilitator for the Eco Fusion after school program, which provides a fun forum for Geneva Middle School students to learn about sustainability and the environment.
While abroad in Copenhagen, Denmark, Booream-Phelps was an initiating member for the Danish Institute for Study Abroad’s Sustainability Task Force. The group of dedicated students and faculty members helped to establish one of the first programs to examine the environmental footprint of an abroad program. Booream-Phelps brought to the task force his interest in uniting economics with sustainability, and examined every aspect of the institute’s greenhouse gas emissions, creating a proposal of ways in which emission levels could be improved at both an individual and institutional level.
Recently, Booream-Phelps was also granted a prestigious internship as a research analyst with Deutsche Bank – which is the perfect stepping stone for his professional aspirations of entering the world of finance and investments to benefit the natural world. He hopes to obtain an MBA that integrates sustainability so that he can eventually generate a greater sense of corporate social responsibility.
“This is what I want to be doing,” says Booream-Phelps. “I want to advance these ideas of benefiting the environment and the community in the business world. I want to use my experiences to help people realize their own respect for the environment.”
Booream-Phelps also serves as a Student Trustee on the Colleges’ Board of Trustees and is a member of the Phi Sigma Kappa Fraternity. In the past, he has also served as sergeant at arms for Hobart Student Government, an America Reads Tutor, and director of finance for the Campus Activities Board.
The Udall Foundation seeks future leaders across a wide spectrum of environmental fields, including policy, engineering, science, education, urban planning and renewal, business, health, justice, and economics. The Udall Foundation is an independent federal agency that was established by Congress in 1992 to provide federally funded scholarships for college students intending to pursue careers related to the environment, as well as to Native American students pursuing tribal policy or health care careers.
Through the Udall Foundation, students receive up to $5,000 for educational expenses; a trip to Tucson, Arizona to meet with other scholars, elected officials, environmental and tribal leaders; and access to a network of environmental, Native American health and tribal policy professionals.
In the photo above, Booream-Phelps works with students in the Eco Fusion afterschool program.