Posted: May 2, 2014
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Three SFS Alumni Named 2014 Udall Scholars

Congratulations to Colby Halligan of Elon University; Michelle Stuhlmacher of George Washington University; and Jenna Wiegand of Oregon State University.

This August, these three recent SFS alumni will be presented the prestigious Udall Scholarship in honor of their commitment to careers in the environment, leadership potential, academic achievement, and record of public service.

We commend your achievements!

Continue below to read the scholars’ profiles.


Name: Colby Halligan
School: Elon University
Major: Environmental Science
SFS Program:  Kenya and Tanzania Fall 2013

I chose SFS Kenya and Tanzania for an adventure, for the opportunity to learn more about myself and my passions, and to explore a new culture and environment. I could not be more grateful for the opportunity to recognize my passion for nutrition in the developing world. My favorite memory of my SFS experience remains in the Serengeti as our safari car drove into the dusk. I remember thinking to myself, “I know how best to love those around me, and that’s by supplying good food to people in the world that need it.”

My intention upon being awarded the Udall Fellowship is to obtain my MPH as a certified dietician and work to develop farm-plot nutrition plans for malnourished women and children. This summer, I will be interning on an organic farm in Tuscany through the Spannocchia Foundation, an organization focused on natural resource conservation, sustainable agriculture, and global dialogue. I am thrilled for the opportunity to help facilitate the empowerment of malnourished communities by sharing resources, knowledge, and enthusiasm.


Name: Michelle Stuhlmacher
School: George Washington University
Major: Geography
SFS Program: Costa Rica Summer 2013

I was first drawn to The School for Field Studies because of the hands-on environmental curriculum. The summer program was a great chance for me to get research experience and see sustainability in action outside of the U.S. I chose the Costa Rica program because I am really interested in Latin American culture and the rainforests and biodiversity.

For the Directed Research portion of the summer, I had the honor of being part of Dr. Achim Haeger’s team. I gained a much better understanding of the research process because we were able to see how a research project began, go out into the field to collect data, and then analyze that data, run statistical tests, and write up our findings in a paper. Additionally, Dr. Haeger and I submitted an article that built off of the summer’s research, and I am listed as a co-author. The article is still under review, but I am very excited about potentially being published as an undergraduate. This is a huge step in the right direction for my future education and career goals.

This coming fall I plan on applying to geography Ph.D. programs. I want to research climate change adaptation and mitigation for my dissertation. Ultimately, I’d like to become a professor so I can both research and teach. Climate change will require a long-term solution so I think it is important to educate and inspire the next generation of students to study climate adaptation and mitigation.


Name: Jenna Wiegand
School: Oregon State University
Major: Business
SFS Program: Turks & Caicos Islands Fall 2013

I am beyond excited for the opportunities this scholarship will give me and the Udall alumni group I’ll be a part of. My experiences and life reflection as part of SFS were instrumental in changing my career goals and aspirations, and highlighted significantly in my application.

With a growing interest and appreciation for sustainability, I was drawn to SFS as an opportunity to both deepen my understanding of ecology and to live out the sustainable practices I’d been learning so much about and aspired to implement. I wanted to shake up my lifestyle and broaden my worldview—and SFS delivered! The depth of what I learned hands-on in the environment and while working in the local community was beyond what I had expected, contributing to an indescribable experience.

This remote island and the community there captured my heart and made me reevaluate my career aspirations in light of global problems that really matter: I now want to apply my business background to work in microfinance and focus on issues including poverty, conservation, inequitable climate change impacts, and third world development. During my time in South Caicos I learned that creating social change is hard: it’s hot, it’s dirty, it’s long hours, it’s full-on commitment. But the work is worth it—hugs and careworn smiles and local enthusiasm are just evidence of a community on the road to something better.

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