WASHINGTON, PA (May 15, 2013)—Washington & Jefferson College sophomore Lauren Horning is fascinated by how human behavior impacts the environment and she is doing her part to ensure those effects are positive.
In recognition of her efforts, Horning is one of just five sophomores in the country awarded the 2013 Morris K. Udall Scholarship, awarded annually to sophomore- and junior-level college students committed to careers in the environment, tribal public policy or Native American healthcare.
The $5,000 prize is earmarked for tuition.
“Ultimately, my future career will promote environmental awareness through a grassroots approach because I believe long-term change begins small with impassioned individuals,” Horning said.
Horning is a double environmental studies and Spanish major who intends to join the Peace Corps following graduation. She would like to one day manage an environmental education center with a summer camp for kids, teaching programs on how to buy sustainably, grow organic food, recycle and up-cycle old products.
“I think personally, when you are passionate and feel strongly about something, that authenticity is apparent,” said Horning, who is an alpha scholar from Bellefonte, Pa. “I became interested in the environment when I was a freshman and it has become my lifestyle.”
Horning began composting on campus last year and created the Green House, an environmentally-themed residence hall at W&J, which promotes recycling, environmental stewardship and energy conservation. She also coordinates an effort on campus to gather books and ship to Better World Books, which sells them to fund global literacy initiatives or sends them to Africa.
“The Morris K. Udall Scholarship is prestigious because it is a gateway to incredible academic opportunities, other fellowships, scholarships, graduate school acceptance and job opportunities. Since becoming W&J’s Udall Scholarship Representative in 2004, I had nominated 11 students for the award and Lauren is our first winner,” said Robert East, Ph.D., associate professor and director of environmental studies program at W&J. “The application process is reasonably arduous and the selection is highly competitive, but Lauren possesses the most impressive qualifications I have seen. She is so deserving of this particular award because of her initiative, leadership, altruism and academic achievement in environmental studies and campus sustainability,”
Last summer, Horning was a counselor at a residential YMCA camp, where she taught archery, led hikes, built campfires and supervised a cabin of girls for ten weeks. This summer, she will be traveling to Argentina on a Magellan Project, spending ten weeks working on and living with organic farmers.
“I have watched kids reconnect with nature through the joys of finding crayfish in a stream and the excitement of hiding in a tunnel of roots. These experiences coupled with my educational training are planting the seeds for a future devoted to environmentalism,” Horning said.
The U.S. Congress established the Udall Foundation as an independent executive branch agency in 1992 to honor Morris K. Udall's 30 years of service in the U.S. House of Representatives
“Morris Udall was relentlessly dedicated to working for what he believed in and successfully passed legislation to aid Native Americans and protect the environment. Someday, I hope to aspire to Udall’s successes and coax a fire of change from the coals he has kept heated after the environment movement of the 1960s,” Horning wrote in her application essay.
Horning will also study abroad in Ecuador next spring.