Elon junior awarded Udall Scholarship

Colby Halligan secured the nation's premier academic award for students dedicated to careers in the environment, tribal public policy or Native American health care.

<p>Colby E. Halligan</p>
<p>Colby E. Halligan</p>
[/caption]Colby E. Halligan has been named a recipient of the 2014 Udall Scholarship, an academic award established by the Morris K. Udall and Stewart L. Udall Foundation to “help educate a new generation of Americans to preserve and protect their national heritage” through scholarship and internship programs dedicated to environmental issues and Native American concerns.

The award provides up to $5,000 in scholarship funding toward her Elon studies, a four-day orientation this August in Tucson, Arizona, to hear from policy experts and elected officials, and access to a wide network of alumni dedicated to similar causes. A total of 489 sophomores and juniors from around the country competed this year for the 50 available awards.

Halligan, an environmental studies and public health double major, is the third student from Elon University to secure the Udall, joining former recipients Breanna C. Detwiler (2008) and Molly K. Schriber (2010).

Halligan is a member of the Periclean Scholars Class of 2015, a Susan Scholar in the Watson and Odyssey Scholars Program, and a member of Omicron Delta Kappa national leadership honor society. She returned over the winter from a semester abroad in Kenya and Tanzania through the nonprofit School for Field Studies.

A volunteer at Loy Farm and an intern with Grow Biointensive, a nonprofit aimed at supplying Third World communities with sustainable agricultural systems, Halligan will be abroad this summer for an internship in Italy through the Spannochia Foundation. She said she sees the Udall Scholarship as a clear and definitive step in her career.

“The Udall Scholarship provides me the resources to improve my understanding of sustainable agriculture, nutrition and global food insecurity,” she said. “With this scholarship, I hope to learn from key environmental international stakeholders about the issues of food instability, and how best to provide optimal nutrition to malnourished communities. I feel incredibly grateful to be offered this opportunity with the intent of providing food to those in the world that really need it.”

One of Halligan’s mentors, Associate Professor Bud Warner in the Department of Human Service Studies, said the Udall Scholarship is a recognition of Halligan’s values and her dedication to nature.

“What makes Colby such a great fit for the Udall award is her genuineness,” he said. “Colby doesn’t just talk about the environment and environmental issues, she makes the environment the central focus of all that she does. Her studies, her work, her internships and her study abroad all help to inform and prepare her to be the type of advocate and change agent that she aspires to be. 

“It is a joy for me to watch her grow and mature in her understanding and commitment to better the planet for all of us.”

Halligan plans to pursue a master’s degree in public health with a concentration in global nutrition. She sees it has her personal mission to “feed the world good food,” food that is sustainably produced, nutritious, and community-based.

Halligan is the daughter of David and Whitney Halligan of Manchester Village, Vermont.

Congress established the Udall Foundation in 1992 to honor Morris K. Udall’s 30 years of service in the U.S. House of Representatives. Stewart L. Udall, a former Secretary of the Interior and also a former members of the House, was added to the Foundation name in 2009 through congressional legislation.

Students interested in the Udall or other fellowships and scholarships should contact the Office of National and International Fellowships.

– Story by Meredith Malburne-Wade, associate director of the Office of National and International Fellowships