University of Vermont

Two UVM Students Receive Honorable Mention Recognition in Udall Scholarship Competition

Sophomores Katelyn Stoner (L) and Claire Wiggin have been recognized with Honorable Mention in the Udall Competition, a national scholarship program that supports work in environmental and Native American policy.

University of Vermont students Katelyn Stoner ’16 and Claire Wiggin ’16 have received Honorable Mention recognition in the 2014 Udall Scholarship competition. Named for former Congressman Morris K. Udall and Interior Secretary Stewart L. Udall, the Udall Scholarship is the preeminent undergraduate award given out by the Udall Foundation. Established by Congress in 1992, the foundation seeks to support scholarship and excellence as it relates to national environmental and Native American policy.

Students must be nominated by the university in order to compete in the Udall competition. That process is overseen by the UVM Fellowships Committee, who may nominate up to six students to participate in the competition each year.

“With only fifty awards given nationally, the Udall has become one of the most competitive national scholarship competitions,” observes Honors College Associate Dean Lisa Schnell, chair of the Fellowships Committee. “For Katie and Claire to be recognized and supported by the Udall Foundation so early in their undergraduate careers bodes very well for their futures, and the impact they will both have on environmental policies and actions.”

Katelyn Stoner has been heavily involved in research and leadership positions as a sophomore in the Rubenstein School for the Environment. As a Rubenstein Steward, Stoner has been active within the school community to inspire students to pursue environmental stewardship through public service. She has helped organize several service days for students to plant trees, restore wildlife habitats, and increase their knowledge of environmental management practices. An Honors College student and a double wildlife biology and natural resources major, Stoner has also worked with local wildlife biologists to engage and train Vermont hunters to help collect data on the state’s deer population, including harvest data and data related to Eastern Equine Encephalitis. She has also done research in the Burlington area on opportunities as well as barriers to implementing experiential environmental programs in public schools.
Stoner is from Lake Oswego, Ore. This summer she will be living in McCloud, Cal, and will be working as a natural resource technician for the U.S. Forest Service. Next fall she will participate in a field semester in Montana, where she will be studying sustainable agriculture, forest management and biogeography of the Swan Valley region. After she graduates from UVM, she aspires to pursue a doctorate in wildlife biology and eventually work in wildlife management and policy where she can create and implement effective environmental protection practices.

Sophomore Claire Wiggin has been a prominent student and leader working to ensure that UVM meets its goals of being a premier environmentally friendly university. As president of Vermont Students Toward Environmental Protection (VSTEP), Wiggin has organized students to advocate for several environmental initiatives at the university and has been deeply involved in working with university officials to advocate for a more sustainable food system on campus. She is the program coordinator for Student Environmental Educators Doing Service (SEEDS), and she works with UVM students and local schools to set up environmental education opportunities in the community. As a research assistant for Pablo Bose, assistant professor of geography, Wiggin is conducting research on urban foraging practices in Burlington. In 2013, she organized UVM students to attend Power Shift in Pittsburgh. She is also a university eco-rep.

Wiggin is an environmental studies major from Fairfield, Conn. This summer she will be working with Green Village Initiative in Bridgeport; over the past two years Wiggin has been heavily involved with the organization as it established the city’s first urban farm, and this year she will continue to work with the community to implement urban farming and gardening programs. After she graduates from UVM, Wiggin aspires to use her classroom and community experience to create a non-profit that will address issues of food access by establishing urban farms.

Stoner and Wiggin join an ever-growing list of UVM students and alumni who have been honored by the Udall Foundation. They are preceded by Erick Crockenberg ’14 (Honorable Mention), Tad Cooke ’14, Tyler Wilkinson-Ray ’12, Colin Arisman ’12 (Honorable Mention), Joanie Stultz ’12 (Honorable Mention),  Zachary Ewell ’08 and Kesha Ram ’08.