WMU News

Brown is WMU's fourth Udall Scholar in five years

May 7, 2004

KALAMAZOO--Western Michigan University senior Tristan Brown is the school's fourth recipient of a prestigious scholarship for environmental studies from the Morris K. Udall Foundation.

Brown of Franklin, Mich., is one of 80 Udall Scholars from around the nation who will receive $5,000 for tuition, fees, books and room and board for the 2004-05 academic year.

A member of the Lee Honors College, Brown is majoring in environmental studies, as well as creating a Student Planned Major, which will include a curriculum of hard sciences, social sciences and humanities. His parents are Jack R. Brown and Enid Hilton Brown of Franklin.

Other WMU students have won Udall Scholarships in 2000, 2001 and 2002. All four students were nominated for the award by Dr. John E. Martell, assistant dean of the Lee Honors College. Dr. Lynne Heasley, assistant professor of environmental studies, also assisted Brown in the application process.

"Since the Udall Foundation scholarship is the most prestigious national scholarship in its field, I am extremely proud of the fact that we have now had four winners in the past five years," says Martell. "Each year, the competition becomes more difficult as all the top universities in America encourage candidates to apply. It means that we have to have the most outstanding students to be competitive. Tristan is one of those students.

"I am continually impressed with Tristan's drive, energy and tenacity. Virtually all candidates for the Udall have outstanding credentials, but the Udall essays demand excellent writing skills and the discipline to revise and polish the style and content to perfection. Tristan created just such an application, and certainly deserves to win this award."

Brown recently became the University's first Lloyd Meeds Policy Fellow, an honor that includes a paid summer internship at Preston Gates Ellis & Rouvelas Meeds LLP, one of the nation's top lobbying firms. He has worked as both an assistant and an intern in WMU's Microbial Aqueous Geochemistry Biogeochemistry and Thermodynamics Laboratory, with the internship funded by the National Science Foundation. Brown has also served as an intern for state Sen. Raymond E. Basham. He is in the midst of a two-year fellowship with the Gibbs House for Environmental Research and Education, a living laboratory for students pursuing environmental research and education.

Among Brown's may extracurricular activities, he is former president of WMU's Students for a Sustainable Earth, a member of the board of directors of the Kalamazoo Swords into Plowshares Peace Center, and a member of such groups as the Economics Student Association, Western Student Association, Progressive Student Alliance and Physics Club. His volunteer work includes serving as a mentor for high-risk students and as a worker in several local, state and national political campaigns. In 2002, Brown studied abroad at Sunway College in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Brown has accumulated an impressive research record for an undergraduate, with five projects funded on topics ranging from water quality to the environment of the Kuala Lumpur region. He has presented his work at the National Science Foundation's REU Symposium and before the Michigan Academy of Science, Arts & Letters. He has been honored with an academic excellence award from WMU's Environmental Studies Program, three College of Arts and Sciences Research Awards, two Lee Honors College Siebert Undergraduate Research and Travel Grants, and two Lee Honors College Undergraduate Research and Creative Activities Awards, among other recognitions.

Some 513 undergraduate students applied for Udall Scholarships this year and officials report that it was an especially competitive applicant pool. Other winners hail from such institutions as Harvard, Yale, Princeton and Stanford universities. Other Michigan recipients attend the University of Michigan, Michigan State University, Alma College and Michigan Technological University.

Established by Congress in 1992 to honor the late Arizona congressman and his legacy of public service, the Morris K. Udall Foundation operates an educational scholarship program designed to provide opportunities for outstanding U.S. students with excellent academic records. It is an executive branch agency whose board of trustees is appointed by the President of the United States, with the advice and consent of the Senate. Scholarships are granted to those who demonstrate a commitment to fields related to the environment, and to Native American and Alaska Native students in fields related to health care and tribal public policy.

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Senior wins prestigious fellowship and internship

Media contact: Jessica English, 269 387-8400, jessica.english@wmich.edu

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