Four Michigan State University Honors College students nominated for Udall Scholarship

Michigan State University has chosen four promising undergraduate students for the nationally competitive Udall Scholarship.

The Udall Foundation awards scholarships to college sophomores and juniors for leadership, public service, and commitment to issues related to American Indian nations or to the environment. Each year, the foundation awards up to $5,000 for educational expenses to 80 outstanding students in the United States.

“These students have chosen distinctive academic programs, but all with an eye toward protecting the world’s natural resources and promoting healthy communities,” said Cynthia Jackson-Elmoore, dean of the MSU Honors College. “Michigan State University is proud to have students with such dedication and commitment to others and the world around them.”

MSU selected four students to nominate for this prestigious award, including: Joseph Brennan, an Honors College junior majoring in political theory and constitutional democracy in the James Madison College; Eamon Devlin, an Honors College sophomore majoring in environmental studies and sustainability and fisheries and wildlife in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources; Clara Lepard, an Honors College sophomore majoring in zoology in the College of Natural Science; and Shelbie Shelder, an Honors College junior majoring in nutritional sciences in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources. 

MSU has produced nine Udall Scholars.

A member of the Alpha Phi Omega service fraternity, Brennan has held internships with the Michigan House Minority Floor Leader’s Office and the Student Statesmanship Institute. He is the Recipient of the Vern Ehler’s Award from the Institute for Public Policy and Social Research (IPPSR). The award is giving to exceptional students who intern with the Michigan Legislature.Brennan is from Howell, Michigan and a graduate of Howell High School. He is a resident assistant in Holden Hall, as well as a student assistant in the James Madison College Career Services Office.

“Domestic and international politics are starting to get serious about the reality of climate change in the 21st century. It is my hope that I may be able to contribute to the United States effectively confronting this issue through the reduction of our reliance on fossil fuels and the promotion of renewable energy,” Brennan said.

Devlin hails from Farmington Hills, Michigan and is a graduate of Harrison High School.

He is a mentor in the Residential Initiative on the Study of the Environment (RISE), a member of the Fisheries and Wildlife Club and Vermicomposting Outreach co-chair. Devlin is the recipient of the Peter and Elizabeth Tack Endowed Scholarship from the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, and a RISE scholarship.

“Ultimately I want to help the environment by making human systems more sustainable, so I see myself working at the intersection of science, policy, and consensus building,” Devlin said. “If there is one thing that my studies have shown me so far, it is that everything can affect the environment, and that effective change requires flexibility; it must be composed of many different fields of study.”

Lepard is from East Lansing, Michigan and graduated from East Lansing High School. She is a resident assistant in Abbot Hall who has held several research positions on campus, currently serving as a research assistant in Professor Weiming Li’s laboratory.

She’s volunteered in several capacities, including participating in Spartans Taking it to the Streets Day of Service. Lepard is the recipient of the Thomas & Mary Krigas Endowed Scholarship from the College of Natural Science and the Mid-Michigan MSU Alumni Club’s Endowed Scholarship.

“I will study ethology and behavioral ecology in the field, conducting research to monitor and discern the impacts of keystone predators on ecosystems as a whole and therefore the people dependent on local natural resources,” Lepard said. “I will advocate for changes in natural resource management and conservation policies in response to ecological monitoring in order to best preserve biodiversity as well as the livelihoods of those living in the area.”

Shelder hails from Muskegon, Michigan and is a graduate of Reeths Puffer High School.

She is an intern at the Michigan Department of Community Health, and previously served as an undergraduate research assistant for the Bio-Computational Evolution of Action (BEACON) Center.

A Charles Drew Science Scholar, Shelder is president of MSU chapter of the American Indian Science and Engineering Society, and a student representative for the American Public Health Association’s American Indian, Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian Caucus. She is the recipient of the Future Leaders Mentoring Scholarship through the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition.  

“My ultimate career goal is to pursue my Ph.D. in nutritional epidemiology researching better ways to educate Native people on how to eat healthy on reservations and reduce the risk of type-two diabetes in Native American people,” Shelder said.

The National and International Fellowship and Scholarship (NIFS) Office, administered by the Honors College, helps students to pursue major national and international opportunities by providing information and direct support throughout the competitive application processes. The Honors College serves academically talented, committed students who wish to pursue and achieve academic excellence.