Ecology major Torre Lavelle, a University of Georgia Honors student, has been named a 2015 Morris K. Udall and Stewart L. Udall Foundation Scholar. The scholarships of up to $5,000 are awarded annually to outstanding sophomores and juniors pursuing careers focused on environmental or Native American public policy.
Lavelle is one of 50 Udall Scholars nationwide chosen from 464 nominees. She is the fifth ecology major and eighth UGA student to be awarded the scholarship in the past five years.
Lavelle, a graduate of Macon’s Mount de Sales Academy, is a recipient of the Foundation Fellowship, UGA’s foremost undergraduate scholarship. The third-year student is majoring in ecology and also pursuing an Honors interdisciplinary studies degree in political ecology and environmental economics. She plans to pursue a master’s degree in environmental management as well as a Juris Doctor to fulfill her aspiration of becoming a conservation policymaker.
“The University of Georgia community is excited for Torre,” said UGA President Jere W. Morehead. “She is a bright student with a strong commitment to environmental stewardship. I cannot think of a more deserving student for this highly selective national award.”
The Udall Foundation was established in 1992 as an independent agency to honor U.S. Rep. Morris K. Udall for his 30 years of service to Congress. In 2009, the foundation’s name changed to include his brother Stewart, who was U.S. secretary of the interior. The foundation’s programs promote leadership, education, collaboration and conflict resolution in the areas of the environment, public lands and natural resources.
“I think what is remarkable about Torre is that she manages to do it all,” said David S. Williams, associate provost and director of the Honors Program. “Torre acts within her local communities through her service activities and also contributes on a broad national and even international scale through her policy work.”
Lavelle’s studies at UGA have been augmented by experiences in the laboratory through UGA’s Center for Undergraduate Research Opportunities, as well as in the field in Fiji through UGA’s Center for Integrative Conservation Research. She also studied in England through the UGA at Oxford program and interned with the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute. Lavelle served as the editor for civic policy for the Journal for Undergraduate Research Opportunities at UGA, presented a white paper on energy efficiency standards at the White House and served as a panelist for a federal congressional delegation.
Lavelle is active in UGA’s chapter of the Roosevelt Institute, a student-run think tank sponsored by the Honors Program, and at the program’s national level. She served as director for the Rethinking Communities Initiative in UGA’s chapter and the senior fellow for energy and the environment for the Roosevelt National Campus Network. Through the institute, she attended the 2014 Clinton Global Initiative University at Arizona State University, and her policy proposal was a finalist for the Roosevelt Ten Ideas publication. At UGA, Lavelle co-founded Campus Scouts, a student organization committed to mentoring Girl Scouts and volunteering with local troops.
In addition to the scholarship of up to $5,000 for eligible academic expenses, the Udall award includes a four-day Scholar Orientation in Tucson, Arizona, as well as access to the Udall Alumni Network, an extensive group of environment and tribal leaders and public servants.
For more information on the Udall Scholarship, see www.udall.gov.