Student honored for interest in environment

A University student became the third to be named a Morris K. Udall scholar, receiving $5,000 towards her senior year expenses for her commitment to a career in the environment, according to a news release on the Seton Hall website.

Lisa Didow, an elementary/special education and environmental studies major, joins two other Seton Hall students in garnering this award.

“It makes me feel honored to know that as a recipient, I am viewed nationally as a future leader in the environmental field,” Didow said.

Didow is one of 80 Udall scholars nationally who were chosen from among 537 candidates representing 256 colleges and universities, according to the news release.

“As a recipient, I am grateful to now be a part of a prestigious and honorary network of environmental leaders that I can stay in contact with as I reach my goals as a science teacher,” Didow said.

She said she is glad to have won the award due to her strong beliefs and passions regarding nature and the future.

Didow said she believes as a future science teacher she can teach students about the world around them, as well as encourage the sustainable and ethical treatment towards it.

“I have always had a great love and respect for God’s blessed gift of nature,” Didow said. “Nature is a beautiful gift that should be shared with future generations to come, and I want to make sure that I am a leader that helps America’s students preserve it.”

According to the Udall Scholarship website, to apply, students must be committed to a career related to the environment or tribal public policy or Native American health care. They must be a matriculated sophomore or junior-level student, and have a college grade-point average of at least a “B” or the equivalent.

The foundation does not accept applications directly from students, the scholarship website states; applicants must be nominated by their college or university.

Didow said she believes she won because she was in a unique position from other applicants, coming from the educational field, whereas others were commonly in the environmental policy field.

“I had to make sure that I convinced the judges that teaching about science and the environment to students can and will save our world,” Didow said.

Seton Hall has had three students in total receive the Udall Scholarship although it has only been offered for the past five years. The two other students to receive the award were Katie Clements in 2006 and Jacie Jones in 2009, Judith Stark, co-director of Environmental Studies, said.

“It really helps that we have faculty who are willing to work very closely with students and we can tailor the projects to their interests,” Stark said.

Didow said through her passion for teaching, the environment and personal stories from being a student teacher, she emphasized the point that our current students are America’s future leaders in areas such as the political, medical educational and business fields.

“By becoming a science teacher that inspires students to treat the environment with respect and care, I know I am shaping future leaders in important careers to be just and ethical citizens for a healthy Earth,” Didow said.

The Udall Scholarship application relies heavily on the applicant’s writing strengths in conveying their strong commitment to environmental careers, Didow said.

Didow said she worked under the supervision of Michael Taylor, her Udall faculty representative and assistant professor of political science.

Didow said she hopes to go to graduate school at Rutgers University in New Brunswick upon obtaining a teaching position, where she can receive a Master’s Degree and doctorate in Environmental Science Education.

According to the list of 2010 scholars available on the Udall Scholarship website, Didow was the only New Jersey student to receive the award that year.

Joanna Toole can be reached at

Author: Staff Writer

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