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2018 Udall Scholars Announced

Two LSU Students Named 2018 Udall Scholars, One Receives Honorable Mention

BATON ROUGE – LSU students Jack Green of Lake Charles, La., and Madelyn Smith of Lafayette, La., have recently been named 2018 Udall Scholars in the environment category. McKaila Darden of Charenton, La., has received an Honorable Mention in tribal policy. This is the first time an LSU student has been recognized two years in a row, as Smith was selected as a Udall Scholar in 2017. This is also the first time more than one Udall Scholar has been selected from LSU in the same year.

“We send our congratulations to these students for being recognized nationally by the Udall Foundation for their leadership, public service and commitment to issues related to Native American nations or the environment,” said LSU President F. King Alexander. “These three students are actively involved on campus and display stellar academic and research achievements. We are excited to see where they go in the future.”

The Udall Foundation was established by the U.S. Congress in 1992 as an independent executive branch agency to honor Morris K. Udall’s lasting impact on this nation’s environment, public lands, and natural resources, and his support of the rights and self-governance of American Indians and Alaska Natives. The 1998 Environmental Policy and Conflict Resolution Act created the U.S. Institute for Environmental Conflict Resolution as a program of the Udall Foundation to assist parties in resolving environmental, public lands, and natural resources conflicts nationwide that involve federal agencies or interests. In 2009, Congress enacted legislation to honor Stewart L. Udall and add his name to the Udall Foundation.

Green is an Ogden Honors College and College of the Coast & Environment sophomore majoring in applied coastal environmental science. He is a LASAL Scholar, part of the Louisiana Service and Leadership Scholars Program, which prepares Ogden Honors College students for leadership roles in Louisiana in the fields of public service, social justice and environmental sustainability. In his application, Green discusses his work with the food waste diversion program at LSU as well as his commitment to protecting communities affected by environmental disasters. Green is heavily involved in LSU Student Government, where he is chair of the Student Fee Value and Assessment Committee and vice chair of Campus Affairs and Sustainability.

After graduation, Green plans to pursue a master’s degree in public policy to work on innovative solutions to sustainability problems that affect Louisiana’s coast.

Smith is an Ogden Honors College and College of Agriculture junior majoring in natural resource ecology and management. She is also a LASAL Scholar. She was awarded a 2017 Udall Scholarship as a sophomore. In this year’s application, Smith wrote about the influential impact the Udall Scholarship has had on her career goals and her commitment to Louisiana’s coast.

Smith used funding from the Roger Hadfield Ogden Honors Leaders Award to create a book, “Louisiana Gone,” which documents the sociocultural effects of wetland loss through interviews and portraits of Louisiana coastal natives. Additionally, Smith is the president and founder of the Student Sierra Coalition at LSU, an organization which aims to advocate for environmental justice and educate the campus community on conservation issues. She is also the research assistant and video producer and editor for “Coastal Voices,” an initiative to deepen the public understanding of the natural and human challenges facing Louisiana’s endangered coast.

After graduation, Smith plans to pursue a master’s in environmental management, with a focus on stakeholder engagement in mitigation planning. She hopes to explore how the environment influences local culture and create policy that positively affects our environment in Louisiana.

Darden is a sophomore pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree in natural resource ecology and management with a minor in forestry in the College of Agriculture. A member of the Chitimacha tribe of Louisiana, Darden passionately describes her commitment to her Native roots and how she wants to use her education to contribute to public policy and legislation affecting her tribe.

After graduation, Darden plans to pursue a master’s degree in environment, policy and society in hopes of working toward creating policy resolutions that benefit Native American populations and the environments they utilize.

The Roger Hadfield Ogden Honors College
The Ogden Honors College, established in 1992, is a vibrant, diverse and prestigious community located at the heart of LSU. The Ogden Honors College provides students with a curriculum of rigorous seminar classes, as well as opportunities for undergraduate research, culminating in the Honors Thesis. Its focus on community service, study abroad, internships and independent research helps today’s high-achieving students become tomorrow’s leaders. 

LSU College of Agriculture
The LSU College of Agriculture offers dynamic and transformative academic experiences in agricultural sciences through innovation and collaboration in a diverse, supportive and personal environment.

LSU College of the Coast & Environment
With a coastal legacy dating back three-quarters of a century, LSU’s College of the Coast & Environment, or CC&E, is at the forefront of today’s most pressing coastal and environmental issues. The college equips graduates with the multidisciplinary tools needed to address real-world coastal and environmental challenges. Our global research leads to a better understanding of the causes and impacts (unanticipated, forecasted, and actual) of these challenges and advances restoration strategies.

About the Office of Fellowship Advising
The Ogden Honors College Office of Fellowship Advising advises current students and recent graduates from all colleges at LSU as they apply for prestigious national and international fellowships. Students interested in applying for a Udall Scholarship may contact Drew Lamonica Arms, director of the Office of Fellowship Advising, at