COLUMBUS, Ohio — Tal Shutkin, an Ohio State University sophomore from Shaker Heights, Ohio, has been named a 2017 Udall Scholar.
The Udall Scholarship recognizes 50 college sophomores and juniors committed to careers related to the environment with a $7,000 scholarship; the award is also open to Native American students interested in tribal policy or native healthcare. An honors student, Shutkin is pursuing a degree in environmental policy and decision making in the School of Environment and Natural Resources in the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences. He is Ohio State’s 12th Udall Scholar.
Though only a sophomore, Shutkin has already distinguished himself as an environmental leader on and off campus. He co-founded Renew OSU, a student group advocating for Ohio State’s divestment from fossil fuels, and serves as vice president of the Sierra Club Student Coalition. He was selected to participate in the Sierra Club Summer Leadership Program in 2015, and represented Ohio State at the Environmental Defense Fund’s 2016 National Campus Leadership Summit.
Shutkin also sought out experience in political advocacy, working as a field canvasser for the Ohio Citizen Action and a campaign organizer for the Rainforest Action Network. He is also an active participant in Mountaineers at Ohio State, recently leading a student climbing trip to Mt. Washington in New Hampshire.
Beyond his campus and community activities, Shutkin has looked to ground his environmentalism within a strong academic framework. He has begun research for his honors thesis on conservation policy evaluating the effectiveness of indigenous natural resource reserves as a conservation strategy in British Columbia’s Great Bear Rainforest. Advised by Anna Wilson in the Department of Anthropology, he chose to focus on this particular location because of the ecological importance of the region as the largest protected old-growth coastal temperate rainforest on the planet, and the potentially groundbreaking conservation strategies being practiced there.
After graduation, Shutkin plans to pursue a PhD in political ecology before pursuing a career as a policy specialist focusing on individualized, research-based approaches to conservation governance.
“I am honored to have been chosen for this scholarship and excited for the opportunity to connect with students from across the country who are passionate about environmental and tribal issues,” Shutkin said.
Since 1996, the Udall Foundation has awarded 1,574 scholarships totaling just over $8 million. Only 60 Udall Scholars are selected annually across the country. The Scholars were chosen from a pool of 494 applicants nominated by 224 universities; each university may nominate up to four students in the environment category.
A 15-member independent review committee appointed by the Udall Foundation selected this year's group of Udall Scholars on the basis of commitment to careers in the environment, leadership potential, academic achievement, and record of public service. The review committee also awarded 50 Honorable Mentions. The Udall Foundations honors the legacy of the late Congressman Morris K. Udall and his brother Stewart L. Udall, also a Congressman and former Secretary of the Interior.
For more information and a complete list of recipients, please visit the Udall Foundation website, udall.gov. Students interested in applying for the Udall Scholarship should contact the Undergraduate Fellowship Office at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Editor's note: In the photo, Tal Shutkin is between the two professors who nominated him for the Udall Award, David Barker (l) and Ramiro Berardo (r). For a high resolution copy of the photo, contact Suzanne Steel at email@example.com.