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Environmental Science Student Named Udall Scholar

Wieteke HolthuijzenEnvironmental Science student Wieteke Holthuijzen Selected as Udall Scholar

University of Idaho junior, Wieteke Holthuijzen, has been selected as a 2013 Udall Scholar, only one of 50 in the nation and the only Idaho scholar this year.

“It is such an honor to be selected for this scholarship; I don’t think that it has really sunk in yet,” said Holthuijzen, from Boise. “To receive this level of recognition really means a lot- it makes me feel that all of my work in academics and at the UI Sustainability Center has been worth it. However, I wouldn’t be here without the support of my family, friends and UI staff and faculty.”

Holthuijzen was chosen from 488 eligible applicants from 49 states by a 14-member independent review committee on the basis of commitment to careers in the environment, Native American healthcare, or tribal public policy; leadership potential; academic achievement; and record of public service.

“Wieteke exemplifies the academic excellence of University of Idaho students and their commitment to their community,” said College of Letters, Arts and Social Sciences Dean Katherine Aiken. “We are proud of Wieteke’s accomplishments and look forward to her continued leadership on campus.”

The environmental science major, with a biological science option, faced tough competition to become a Udall Scholar. Of the 488 applicants, 446 students applied in the environment category, and Holthuijzen was one of 42 scholars chosen. She is also earning a minor in French, modern languages and cultures.

Wieteke Holthuijzen rock climbingIn addition to her coursework, Holthuijzen has been an active member of the University Honor’s Program and she is active in promoting the environment on the Moscow campus. She is the projects coordinator at the Sustainability Center and is co-leading the UIdeas Symposium, an interdisciplinary symposium featuring U-Idaho professors' research and academic passions in a way that is understandable and accessible to all students.

“I’ve always felt that if you aren’t part of the solution, you’re part of the problem,” said Holthuijzen. “There are so many ways to create real and permanent change on campus, from food systems to energy efficiency. Why wait to take action when you can start today!”

In 2010, Holthuijzen received a $3,000 grant from the UISC to build a hoop house for the University of Idaho’s Soil Steward’s organic farm. Since then, she has been active in Soil Stewards club, helping with planting, harvesting, outreach efforts and volunteer events. She has started several new programs at the sustainability center, such as Good Eatings, sustainable cooking workshops for students in the residence halls. In addition, she is helping to bring the Ink-O-Dem, an ink cartridge refill system, to campus beginning August 2013, providing students with an affordable and sustainable service to refill their ink cartridges.

“I think we tend to forget that we are part of our environment; it’s easy to draw a line between the human and non-human nature,” said Hotlhuijzen. “It’s more important now than ever to recognize these crucial relationships; that is why I decided to pursue environmental science. It provides an interdisciplinary perspective that can be utilized to help solve a variety of issues, whether they be environmental, political or social. Whatever I end up doing, whether it be studying birds in the field or spearheading sustainability efforts, I know that I will be studying and interacting with the natural world in one way or another.”

Each scholarship provides up to $5,000 for the scholar’s junior or senior year.

The 2013 Udall Scholars will assemble Aug. 7-11, 2013, in Tucson, Ariz., to receive their awards and meet policymakers and community leaders in environmental fields, tribal health care and governance.

For a listing of the 2013 Udall Scholars and Honorable Mentions and more information on the Foundation and related programs, visit www.udall.gov.