Leslie Coleman

Leslie Coleman

IWU Student Receives Environmental Scholarship

April 10, 2006

BLOOMINGTON, Ill. - Illinois Wesleyan University student Leslie Coleman, a junior environmental studies major, was one of 80 students selected to receive the 2006 Morris K. Udall scholarship out of 445 applicants.

Each year the Morris K. Udall Foundation awards up to 80 scholarships of $5,000 to sophomore-or junior-level college students who have demonstrated commitment to careers in an environmental field.  Scholarships are also awarded to Native American or Alaska Native students in tribal public policy or health care.

The Morris K. Udall Scholarship and Excellence in National Environmental Policy Foundation was established by Congress in 1992 to honor Congressman Udall's legacy of public service.  Udall served for thirty years in the House of Representatives and used his leadership in Congress to pass numerous pieces of environmental legislation and to champion the rights of Native Americans and Alaska Natives.

Coleman, a 2003 graduate of Newman Central Catholic High School in Sterling, Ill., is the first Illinois Wesleyan University student to be awarded this scholarship as well as the only IWU applicant this year.  "It's definitely a big honor to be among the country's most committed student environmentalists," said Coleman.

The Harmon, Ill., native is an environmental studies major and an international studies (development) minor.  She co-founded the IWU chapter of the Sierra Student Coalition, an organization for students interested in sustainability on the campus, local and national levels, in the 2004-05 school year and served as co-president this year.

She has interned at the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency and The Land Connection (a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting local sustainable agriculture). This summer she will work in Boston with the Merck Family Fund, which supplies grants to environmental and urban initiatives.

With a particular interest in sustainable development and environmental justice in the context of developing countries, Coleman hopes to be admitted to the Peace Corps and then to attend graduate school to study international sustainable development.

"Eventually I'd like to work for a non-governmental organization, either in the U.S. or in a developing country, that focuses on traditional development issues combined with environmental initiatives," said Coleman.

Contact: Kay Mitchell, (309) 556-3181