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Udall Nominees

Four LSU Students Nominated for 2018 Udall Scholarship
Udall Nominees

Udall Nominees: From left, McKaila Darden, Katie Davis, Jack Green and Madelyn Smith.

The LSU Roger Hadfield Ogden Honors College has nominated four students for the prestigious Udall Scholarship. McKaila Darden, a native of Charenton, Louisiana; Katie Davis, a native of Frisco, Texas; Jack Green, a native of Lake Charles, Louisiana; and Madelyn Smith, a native of Lafayette, Louisiana, will compete with students from universities across the country for the chance to be named a 2018 Udall Scholar. Students compete for selection through an internal competition for the university nomination.

“It’s a very exciting year for LSU’s Udall applications: we have the university’s first nominee in the tribal policy category and a current Udall Scholar reapplying for the award,” Director of Fellowship Advising Dr. Drew Lamonica Arms said. “Among LSU’s student body are leaders in environmental activism, research, and sustainability efforts, and the Udall Scholarship recognizes these significant accomplishments.”

The Udall Foundation awards scholarships to college sophomores and juniors for leadership, public service and commitment to issues related to Native American nations or to the environment. In 2018, the Udall Foundation anticipates awarding 50 scholarships of up to $7,000 each.

McKaila Darden is a sophomore in the College of Agriculture majoring in natural resource ecology and management. In her application, 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.

“I am very passionate about my education and getting the youth of my tribe motivated about pursuing theirs,” Darden said. “In order to continue contributing to the betterment and advancement of the Chitimacha Tribe of Louisiana, we, as a tribe, must represent our values and culture on a national and global level, and there is no better way of doing this than by having a strong passion for education. I am working towards becoming a voice of my generation, generations before me, and generations to come long after I am gone.”

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.

Katie Davis is an Ogden Honors College and College of Agriculture sophomore majoring in natural resource ecology and management and Spanish. In her application, Davis stressed the importance of research to environmental change.

“We are currently in the midst of the world's sixth mass extinction event, but vulnerable species are not the only stakeholders involved,” Davis explains. “Research can play a vital role in resolving threats to the land on which animals, plants, and humans depend, and I want to work with communities in threatened areas to address the issues that matter to them.”

After graduation, Davis plans to pursue a PhD in conservation biology. She hopes to work in a field combining local wildlife management and international research, such as the World Wildlife Fund.

Jack 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 (LASAL) 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.

“I believe that we need to rethink how we as a university and as a nation approach sustainability,” Green said. “We need to take into account more factors than we did when we made the decisions that got us where we are today environmentally: factors like people and the communities they live in that are affected by environmental problems. To solve these problems, which face everyone, you need to get input and take into consideration the needs of everyone.”

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.

Madelyn 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.

“My current work attempts to understand the human consequences of the way we manage land and water in Louisiana,” Smith said. “I’m currently working with Dr. Michael Pasquier to produce a podcast series and website entitled Coastal Voices that attempts to understand the complex relationship between people, land, and water in Louisiana. I was fortunate to have been awarded the Udall Scholarship last year as a sophomore, and attending the Udall Conference last summer was influential in shaping my career goals. I would love the opportunity to return to the conference again as a member of this year’s scholar class.”

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. After graduation, Smith plans to pursue a master’s in environmental management in hopes of exploring how the environment influences local culture and creating policy that positively affects our environment in Louisiana. 


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


The Udall Foundation

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.


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 (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.


 Story and research by Lucy Simon. 



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