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Natalie Hoidal '15 Named a 2014 Udall Scholar

Posted by Jenna Ray on Thursday, May. 1, 2014


Natalie Hoidal ’15, Forest Lake, has been named a 2014 Udall Scholar. This year the Udall Foundation awarded just 50 scholarships to sophomore- and junior-level college students committed to careers related to the environment, tribal public policy, and Native American health care.

Given the foundation’s interest in future environmental leaders and Hoidal’s numerous accomplishments in the field, it seems fitting that she was selected. In 2013 Hoidal was appointed by Ellen Anderson, senior adviser on energy and environment to Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton, to organize the Next Generation Environmental Congress. She also led the University of Minnesota’s “Next Generation Environmental Leaders” in the effort that won them the 2013 Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education Student Sustainability Leadership Award.

According to Marynel Ryan Van Zee, associate professor of history and campus coordinator for national scholarships, Hoidal “brings the combination of interdisciplinary perspectives and critical thinking that a liberal arts education nurtures to every problem she approaches, finding solutions that defy easy categorization as the product of any single disciplinary or analytical framework.”

“We all need role models, and Natalie is a role model for many of us,” adds Troy Goodnough, sustainability director. “She is creating and being the change she wants to see in the world.”

Hoidal learned of the scholarship from a former recipient, Naomi Wente ’13. Wente encouraged Hoidal to apply, which she did after hearing about the “amazing” opportunities the award would present.

“The main benefit of the Udall is the network that comes with it,” says Hoidal. “I’ll be spending a week in August with the other recipients, so it will be a chance to meet 49 amazing young people working on tribal and environmental justice, whom I will hopefully continue to work with in the future.”

Hoidal plans to use some of her scholarship money to complete a research project on seed saving and community-driven agroecology projects in rural Bolivia and Peru this summer. She intends to use the remaining funds to study agronomy and plant genetics at the University of Minnesota.

Hoidal is the fourth Morris student to receive a Udall scholarship. Previous recipients include Wente, Tara Greiman ’10, and Kellcee Baker ’10.

The Udall Foundation is an independent federal agency that was established by Congress in 1992 to provide federally funded scholarships for college students intending to pursue careers related to the environment, as well as to American Indian students pursuing tribal public policy or health care careers. For more information, visit udall.gov.