Two Mississippi students to join prestigious list of only 55 by 2023

Two Mississippi students to join prestigious list of only 55 by 2023

Two Mississippi State honors students are among a distinguished group of only 55 Udall Scholars nationwide for 2023.

Lucy Mellen, a junior geology and political science double major from Hattiesburg, and Grant C. Peterson, a senior wildlife, fisheries and aquaculture major from Starkville, are among the honorees selected for careers in the environment, tribal public policy or local health. care; leadership potential; civil service record; and academic performance.

Both students are members of the university’s Judy and Bobby Shackouls Honors College, where Mellen is a Bobby P. and Barbara M. Martin Presidential Distinguished Scholar. Both are interested in careers in the environmental field and plan to pursue graduate studies.

MSU President Mark E. In congratulating Mellen and Peterson, Keenum said, “I am confident that they will be outstanding representatives of Mississippi State University as part of this most prestigious program. This is a great honor that brings great credit to Grant and Lucy as well as MSU. We are very proud of them, as well as the world-class teachers and mentors who helped them excel and compete for this national scholarship.”

The Udall Foundation awards scholarships to college sophomores and juniors for leadership, public service, and commitment related to American nations or the environment. The Udall Scholarship honors the legacy of Maurice Udall and Stuart Udall, whose careers have had a significant impact on Native American self-government, health care, and the management of public lands and natural resources.

Each scholarship provides up to $7,000 in academic expenses for the recipient’s junior or senior academic year. The Udall Scholar Orientation in early August will connect students with their peers from other institutions and professionals. Established by the U.S. Congress in 1992, the Udall Foundation’s mission is to promote leadership and education on the environment, public lands, and natural resources to help local nations, federal agencies, and others address environmental issues and advance stewardship of the nation’s resources.

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After completing her undergraduate studies, Melanie plans to attend law school and pursue a career in environmental law and policy in Washington, DC.

“The knowledge I’m getting from my fellow Udal scholars will help prepare me to enter this field of environmentalism. During my undergraduate studies, I was involved in ways of environmental advocacy. Last summer I studied abroad with Mississippi State’s chemistry department in Iceland and Scandinavia where we learned about alternative energy sources. I then interned as general counsel at Cooperative Energy, an electricity provider to a more rural area of ​​Mississippi. This next opportunity with Udall will continue to benefit me in similar ways and allow me to speak with graduate students who work in all areas of environmental protection and other scientists who have supported the Earth in various ways during their undergraduate careers,” Mellen said.

Peterson’s career goals focus on working as a wetlands and coastal restoration planner for a federal or state government agency. He plans to use his skills in ecology, data analysis, GIS, policy, project management and team leadership to design and implement landscape-scale habitat and ecosystem restoration projects.

“This summer, I will complete a coastal conservation and restoration internship with the Mississippi State Extension Service, which will give me hands-on experience working with various stakeholders to restore wetlands, monitor residential shorelines and faunal assemblages, and promote a ‘Plastic Free Bay.’ Beach campaign. Once I graduate, pursuing a master’s in environmental management will help me gain a deeper understanding of natural and social systems and help me develop the hard skills needed to plan effective wetland and coastal restoration projects,” explained Peterson.

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David Hoffman, director of MSU’s prestigious external scholarship office, said several campus mentors and leaders helped guide students through the application process.

“We are very excited for both Grant and Lucy, who were selected not only for their outstanding scholarship on environmental issues in academic programs at MSU, but also for their active involvement with them both on and off campus. Grant has been incredibly active in coastal wetland research under the direction of Dr. Sandra Correa in forestry. Meanwhile, Lucy researched the human geography and legal history surrounding African-American resource exploration and public lands under the direction of Dr. Brian Williams in Geosciences. Their demonstrated leadership in raising awareness and encouraging more sustainable behavior on the MSU campus, in Starkville and beyond is truly admirable,” said Hoffman.

For more information about the Udall Scholarship program, visit

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