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Ogden Honors College Junior David Fertitta Recognized by Udall Foundation

LSU Ogden Honors College junior David Fertitta, of Biloxi, MS, has been recognized with an Honorable Mention in the 2015 Udall Scholarship Competition. The Udall Foundation awards scholarships to undergraduates committed to working on environmental and/or Native American issues. Fertitta is a Coastal Environmental Science major, and currently conducts research with LSU School of Coast and Environment Professor Dubravko Justić on the extent of hypoxia (oxygen deficiency) in the northern Gulf of Mexico. He plans to pursue a PhD in Oceanography after he graduates from LSU, and ultimately hopes to develop numerical models to advance the study of climate changes and its effects on the world’s oceans.

"Growing up on the Mississippi Gulf Coast promoted my interested in marine and environmental science,” Fertitta said. “Being from a region so vulnerable to environmental effects such as hurricanes ultimately inspired me to pursue a career in oceanography. While at LSU, I've been given incredible opportunities to build relationships with many of my professors and advisors, including conducting research on hypoxia in the northern Gulf of Mexico, conducted with Dr. Justić. It’s such an honor to represent LSU, the Ogden Honors College, and the School of the Coast & Environment on the national level."

Fertitta wrote and defended his Honors Thesis a year early; typically Honors students complete their thesis projects in the senior year. He also presented his thesis , titled "Assessing the Impacts of Nutrient Load Reduction Scenarios on the Extent and Severity of Hypoxia in the Northern Gulf of Mexico,” at the 2015 Ogden Honors Research Colloquium in April 2015. Feritta has been an active member of the School of Coast & Environment, serving on its college council, as a calculus tutor to SCE majors, and as an EnvironMentor for incoming SCE students. 

“I first met David in January 2014 when he signed up for my ecosystem modeling course,” said Dr. Justic. “He was concerned about the lack of prior experience in ecosystem modeling and unsure if he would be able to follow the lectures. As it turned out, David not only received an excellent grade on the final exam, but went on to complete an outstanding Honors Thesis, receive several notable awards, secure an internship at the prestigious Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution for the upcoming summer, and is currently writing a chapter for a book on coastal hypoxia modeling. David belongs to a rare class of students that advisors dream about to carry the name and reputation of this university all over the world.  I am proud to have been his advisor.” 

About the Udall Foundation 

Established by Congress in 1992, the Udall Foundation awards scholarships, fellowships and internships for study in fields related to the environment and to American Indians and Alaska Natives in fields related to health care and tribal public policy; provides funding to the Udall Center for Studies in Public Policy and to the Native Nations Institute to conduct environmental policy research, research on American Indians and Alaska Native health care issues and tribal public policy issues, and training; and provides assessment, mediation, training and other related services through the U.S. Institute for Environmental Conflict Resolution.

About the Ogden Honors College

The Ogden Honors College, established in 1992, is a vibrant, diverse and prestigious community located at the heart of LSU. The Honors College typically admits the top 10 percent of incoming LSU freshmen, and 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.  


For more information, contact Liz Torrey, Ogden Honors College Communications Coordinator, at 225-578-0083 or