Students Honored for Environmental Scholarship, Advocacy

Daniella Rodriguez, Maya Henderson, Sarah Melcher

Student researchers from Dr. Angela Person and Dr. Randy Peppler‘s Environmental Sustainability Working Group’s (ESWG) 2017 and 2018 cohorts were recently honored with significant environmental and research awards.

  • Maya Henderson, an OU junior, was named a 2019 Udall Scholar. This is a national award that recognizes sophomore or junior college students committed to careers related to the environment, Native American public policy or health care. Henderson’s recent research activity focuses on public perceptions of sustainability and green initiatives, a portion of which was published in the Southern Climate Monitor (link). Henderson also presented this work at the 2019 Dimensions of Political Ecology Conference, with support from Dr. Mary Lawhon. Learn more about Henderson’s award here.
  • Sarah Melcher, an OU senior, was named the 2019 Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA) – Oklahoma Chapter Scholarship recipient. This award honors promising undergraduates each year, in particular those with a focus on issues related to waste. Melcher’s recent research activity focuses on understanding barriers to and opportunities for furthering recycling efforts in rural Oklahoma communities. She has presented her research at the 2018 Southwest American Association of Geographers’ conference, and it was also shared during the “Geographies of Waste” session of the 2019 American Association of Geographers’ Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C. (link). Learn more about SWANA here.
  • Victoria Johnson, an OU graduate student, received an honorable mention as a best student presenter for her project, “Place Attachment, Climatology, and Tornado Risk Perception in Central Oklahoma” at the 2019 American Meteorological Society Annual Meeting in Phoenix, Arizona. Johnson reflected on the project, saying, “In the summer of 2017 I was brought on to work alongside Dr. Randy Peppler and Dr. Kim Klockow-McClain on their Tornado Risk Perception project for central Oklahoma. It was through Dr. Angela Person’s mentorship that introduced me to this opportunity, as I was looking for ways to get involved and explore my research interests. This project has been the perfect avenue for me and has transitioned into other projects during my graduate studies!” Learn more here.

The Environmental Sustainability Working Group is a summer lab that offers mentored research opportunities to undergraduate students interested in advancing knowledge of regional issues affecting sustainability.

Featured image: From left, Daniella Rodriguez, Maya Henderson, Sarah Melcher, members of the Summer 2018 cohort of the Environmental Sustainability Working Group.