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Two ASU students receive Udall Undergraduate Scholarship for their interest in the environment


Kinley Ragan

Kinley Ragan, a conservation biology and ecology major, has won the Udall Undergraduate Scholarship.

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May 25, 2018

Two Arizona State University students, Kinley Ragan and Karen Ibarra, have been awarded the 2018 Udall Undergraduate Scholarship.

They are among 50 students from 42 colleges and universities chosen for this year’s group of Udall Scholars on the basis of their commitment to careers in the environment, native health care or tribal public policy; leadership potential; record of public service and academic achievement.

This year’s class of Udall Scholars was selected from 437 candidates nominated by 209 colleges and universities. Thirty-four Scholars intend to pursue careers related to the environment. Ten Native American/Alaska Native scholars intend to pursue careers related to tribal public policy and six Native American/Alaska Native scholars intend to pursue careers related to native health care.

Each scholarship provides up to $7,000 for the student's junior or senior year. Since the first awards in 1996, the Udall Foundation has awarded 1,624 scholarships totaling $8,440,000.

Kinley Ragan is a Barrett, The Honors College student majoring in conservation biology and ecology with a certificate in geographic information sciences. She won the Udall Scholarship in the environment category.

As president of the Central Arizona chapter of the Society for Conservation Biology, she prepares future conservation leaders for success in the field. Ragan conducts research at the Phoenix Zoo, using wildlife cameras to study community ecology throughout Arizona and Mexico.

In a self-designed project this summer supported by the Barrett Global Explorers Grant, she will study human-wildlife conflict management at the borders of national parks in Thailand, Australia, Nepal, South Africa and Colombia. She said she is driven by her admiration for wildlife, passion for coexistence, and love for her family.

Ragan received assistance with her Udall Scholarship application from staff in the Office of National Scholarship Advisement (ONSA) located in the Barrett, The Honors College Tempe campus complex.

“Receiving the Udall Scholarship is a great honor and accomplishment. This award has become extremely competitive, with just 34 scholarships in the environmental category given this year out of 355 well-qualified applicants,” said Brian Goehner, ONSA program manager.

“Kinley is an exceptional young woman who has already made an impact in her field, and this opportunity will accelerate her professional development. When Kinley accepted the award, she received a notice that said ‘Welcome to Team Udall!’ What that means is she is now part of the Udall alumni network that is over 2,000 strong. These alumni are policy makers, leaders in their field and committed to issues related to Native Americans or to the environment,” he added.

Karen Ibarra

Karen Ibarra is in her third year at ASU where she is studying sustainability and justice. She transferred into ASU from Phoenix College. She also was selected for the Udall Scholarship in the environment category.

She has participated in natural resource management and conservation through extensive field programs.

She is an active member of Living United for a Change in Arizona (LUCHA), a Phoenix-based organization that advocates for social, economic and racial justice. Ibarra leads a LUCHA campaign focused on alleviating the effects of mass incarceration within heavily impacted areas in Phoenix.

Ibarra has many passions that all share the theme of advocating for marginalized communities and natural spaces. In the future, she hopes to extend the restorative properties of natural spaces to underrepresented communities by promoting diversity within public lands.

The 2018 Udall Scholars will assemble Aug. 7–12, in Tucson, Arizona, to meet one another and program alumni, learn more about the Udall legacy of public service and interact with community leaders in environmental fields, Tribal health care, and governance.

Learn more about the Udall Undergraduate Scholarship and the 2018 scholars.

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