University of Vermont

University Communications

Two UVM Students Awarded in Udall Scholarship Competition

Tyler Wilkinson-Ray '12

Two UVM students have been recognized in the 2011 Udall Scholarship competition. Tyler Wilkinson-Ray '12 has been named a 2011 Udall Scholar, and Colin Arisman '12 was recognized with Honorable Mention. This nationally competitive scholarship acknowledges sophomores and juniors who have been outstanding leaders and who have demonstrated excellence in the classroom. It is the most prestigious undergraduate award available for students who are pursuing careers focused on environmental or Native American issues.

Wilkinson-Ray, a Richmond, Vt. native and a double global studies and political science major, has been one of the most active student leaders at UVM.  He’s immersed himself in UVM food and environmental organizations, with service as president of the Garden Club, a campus representative of the environmental co-op, treasurer of Common Ground Farm and a member of Slow Food. In 2009, he organized the eco-block, the largest ever environmental takeover of the Student Government Association. As an SGA senator he also led the initiative to create a student vision for the university.

He’s also completed independent research throughout the state of Vermont, where he’s traveled to learn more about how policy affects farmers. After graduating from UVM, Wilkinson-Ray plans to pursue a degree in law as well as a master’s in public policy. With this education, he hopes to work on policy that would enable a sustainable and environmentally friendly agricultural system on the national level.

Arisman, the Honorable Mention recipient, is a Marshfield, Vt. Native. As a natural resources major and an Honors College student, he has been active in working on issues related to indigenous populations and natural resource extraction abroad. While participating in a service learning trip to the Dominican Republic in 2010, Arisman had the opportunity to spend time in Batey Libertad with a group of Hatian migrant workers. While there, he learned that the Batey community lacked access to clean water, so when he returned to UVM, he organized a fundraiser and donated all the proceeds to build a pipe from an aquifer to the village. Currently, Arisman is living in Ecuador and working with local non-profit groups on issues related to resource extraction. He is also doing research on promoting sustainable farming practices in the Intag Cloud Forest region, a project on which he will base his senior honors thesis. When he graduates, he plans on joining the Peace Corps and pursuing a master’s in environmental anthropology so he can continue to work with indigenous populations on environmental and natural resource extraction issues.

Wilkinson-Ray is the first UVM student to be named a Udall Scholar since Zachary Ewell and Kesha Ram received the award in 2006, and Arisman is the second UVM student to be awarded an Honorable Mention in the past two years (in 2010 Joanie Stultz ’12 received the recognition). Out of the 510 students nominated by universities to participate in the 2011 competition, 80 students were named scholars and 50 students were given honorable mentions. Each scholar receives a $5,000 scholarship, an expenses-paid trip to Tuscon, Ariz. for Udall Scholar orientation and access to one of the largest networks of environmental leaders in the country.

Since 2005, when the university put a centralized fellowship outreach and support program in place, 57 UVM students have won or been finalists in the country’s most prestigious and competitive competitions, including the Fulbright, Rhodes, Goldwater, Marshall, Udall, Truman, Madison, Gilman, and Boren Overseas scholarships.