LAWRENCE — Four students at the University of Kansas are nominees for Udall Undergraduate Scholarships, which recognize students who demonstrate leadership, public service and commitment in the fields of tribal public policy, native health care or the environment.
Laura Phillips, a junior from Perry majoring in classical languages and ecology, evolution & organismal biology
Avery Rowcroft, a junior from Shawnee majoring in applied behavioral science and minoring in history and Spanish
Meredith Shaheed, a junior from Lawrence majoring in environmental studies, history and political science
Lauren Young, a sophomore from Olathe majoring in environmental studies and minoring in Spanish
The Udall Undergraduate Scholarship is a federal scholarship that honors the legacies of Morris Udall and Stewart Udall, two former Arizona lawmakers whose careers had an effect on American Indian self-governance, health care and the stewardship of public lands and natural resources.
The Udall Foundation administers the program. This year, the foundation will award 60 students with scholarships of up to $7,000 each, access to the Udall Alumni Network and a four-day scholar orientation in Tucson, Arizona. Students must be nominated by their university to apply, and universities are limited in the total number of nominations they can make.
At KU, the nomination process is coordinated by the Office of Fellowships in Undergraduate Studies. Students interested in applying next year should contact Anne Wallen, program director of the Office of Fellowships and campus representative for the Udall Scholarship.
Biographical details of the candidates follow.
Laura Phillips, from Perry, is the daughter of Jean Phillips and Steve Phillips. A graduate of Free State High School, Phillips is majoring in classical languages and ecology, evolution & organismal biology. Phillips has been a coordinator at the Center for Community Outreach for the Earth program since her freshman year. Phillips focuses on sustainable gardening and food security within the program. She has also worked for the Kansas Trails Council to help build and publicize hiking trails, with a focus on conservation and sustainable trail building. Phillips has spent several summers in the Rocky Mountains at Philmont Scout Ranch, working on fire rehabilitation and forestry management, and leading backpacking treks for high schoolers interested in ecology. She has worked at the KU Monarch Watch Lab and recently began work on sustainable agriculture research with Maggie Wagner, assistant professor of ecology & evolutionary biology.
Avery Rowcroft, from Shawnee, is the daughter of Rhonda Befort and Eric Rowcroft. A graduate of St. James Academy, Rowcroft is an enrolled member of the Tlingit Tribe of Alaska. While she was in high school, Rowcroft participated in a shadowing program at her tribe’s hospital, which led to her interest in mental health care. At KU she is a member of the Multicultural Scholars Program and the University Honors Program. Since August, she has been an intern in the Kansas City office of U.S. Rep. Sharice Davids. She has also worked as an office assistant for the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers for the past two years. Rowcroft is an active volunteer with Morning Glory Ministries and Food Kitchen and is director of fundraising for the HEAL KU club, which focuses on building sustainable relationships with local organizations and advocating for ethical service in order to develop more conscientious community members.
Meredith Shaheed, from Lawrence, is the daughter of Gail and Peter Shaheed. A graduate of Free State High School, Shaheed is a member of the University Honors Program and was selected as a sophomore for the University Scholars Program. At KU, Shaheed has served on the executive boards of Young Democrats Club and the All-Scholarship Hall Council, served as a student senator for two years and worked as an orientation assistant and orientation coordinator for the Office of First-Year Experience. During the 2018 election, she worked as a campus organizer for the Kansas Democratic Party. She spent fall 2019 studying rainforest and reef ecology in Australia, including a month conducting original research at Christmas Island National Park in Western Australia. This semester, Shaheed is serving as a congressional intern for U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders in Washington, D.C.
Lauren Young, from Olathe, is the daughter of Jennifer Young. A graduate of Olathe North High School, where she participated in the LINK crew mentoring freshmen, Young completed the Geoscience Academy at Olathe High School and was endorsed with honors. Through this program, she participated in a 10-day research experience in the Gulf of Mexico. In Kansas City, she completed an internship with the Environmental Protection Agency Region 7 Branch Office and has volunteered with the Hot Chocolate 5K. At KU, she has been involved with Amnesty International, Super Service Saturday and TRIO student services. She works as a student assistant in the University Archives.