William Smith student Clancy Brown ’09 has received The Morris K. Udall Scholarship, a prestigious national award designed to promote environmental outreach, research and understanding.
“I learned about the fellowship during an informational session on campus,” says Brown. “It’s all about making a difference, about dedicating your life to something you’re passionate about. For me, that passion is studying the natural world and doing my utmost to protect natural resources for future generations.”
She says the scholarship fits well with her values and career goals. After receiving an honorable mention last year for the scholarship, Brown applied again this year, working with her academic advisers and with the staff of the Salisbury Center for Career Services to fine tune her application. The pool of applicants was significantly higher this year than last – 510 people – and Brown was one of only 80 recipients chosen. She is also the first HWS student to win the Morris K. Udall Scholarship.
“It’s great for Clancy; it’s great for the Colleges,” says Renee Nearpass, assistant director of health professions counseling and fellowship advising. “We’re very excited.”
“Clancy Brown is an outstanding individual and truly deserves this honor,” says John Halfman, professor of geoscience and environmental studies. “This award exemplifies her many achievements since coming to campus and notably strengthens the reputation of our growing environmental studies program.”
Brown, a biology major and Spanish and environmental studies minor, was recognized by the review committee for her leadership potential, advocacy and academic achievement. Brown is the chair of Campus Greens and a member of the President’s Climate Commitment Task Force, as well as a trip leader for the Outdoor Recreation Adventure Club. She is currently working on her Honors project in biology, focused on evaluating the effects of an invasive alga, commonly known as “didymo,” on stream ecosystems.
The work is based on research she conducted this past summer at the Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory with Dartmouth professor Brad Taylor. She has also pursued research with Halfman, studying the water quality of the Finger Lakes, and co-authored a publication with him for presentation at the Geological Society of America’s Annual Conference.
Brown hopes to eventually earn her Ph.D. in ecology and become a professor. Before graduate school, however, she plans to join the Peace Corps. “My courses in environmental studies, ecology and biology have shaped my views on the environment and steered me toward a career in ecological research,” says Brown, adding that her involvement with environmental initiatives on campus have also significantly impacted her.
“It’s so encouraging to see students riding around on yellow bicycles, or posters of people ‘caught green handed.’ These are visible signs of a larger shift to environmental awareness and promoting a sustainable lifestyle on campus. This is the kind of legacy we should strive for.”
The Morris K. Udall Scholarship and Excellence in National Environmental Policy Foundation was authorized by Congress in 1992 to honor Congressman Udall’s legacy of public service. The Foundation is supported by a trust fund in the U.S. Treasury and contributions from the private sector. There have been 916 Udall Scholars since the first awards in 1996. Congressman Udall served in the House of Representatives for three decades and was instrumental in many pieces of environmental legislation, including the Alaska Lands Act of 1980, which doubled the size of the national park system and tripled the amount of national wilderness. Udall was also a champion of the rights of Native Americans and Alaska Natives, using his leadership in Congress to strengthen tribal self-governance.