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Tara Greiman is a Udall Scholar

Posted by Judy Riley on Monday, Apr. 6, 2009

Event Date/Time: Monday, Apr. 6, 2009 4:00 pm
End Date/Time: Thursday, Apr. 8, 2010 4:30 pm

University of Minnesota, Morris junior Tara Greiman, Dayton, is a recipient of the 2009 Udall Scholarship, one of only two students awarded who attend a Minnesota college. Greiman is the second Morris campus student to receive the Udall and the first to focus on environmental studies.

The Udall Foundation awarded this highly competitive and prestigious scholarship to only 80 students from 66 colleges and universities nationwide. The Foundation seeks future leaders across a wide spectrum of environmental fields, including policy, engineering, science, education, urban planning and renewal, business, health, justice, and economics.

A 2007 graduate of Champlin Park High School, Greiman’s Morris experience and her career goals align with the Udall Foundation’s vision.

“Tara epitomizes the ideal candidate for [the Udall] first scholarship category: ‘students who have demonstrated commitment to careers related to the environment,’” said Peter Wyckoff, associate professor of biology, Greiman’s academic adviser and chair of the Morris campus environmental studies program. “[The] environmental studies program is new at UMM, and Tara was one of the first students to sign up. We require students to gain practical experience through internships and research projects prior to graduation…[Tara] has already forced us faculty…to address the issue of how many internships a student might count towards graduation.”

“She has been involved with the Minnesota Public Interest Research Group (MPIRG) at Morris to engage the campus and state in a conversation about the presence of toxins in the things we use daily,” explained Troy Goodnough, campus sustainability coordinator. “Tara is helping lead MPIRG’s month-long reflection at [Morris] about how we use energy and water resources.” She has also been deeply involved in the issues confronted by rural areas and towns through her work with the campus’ Center for Small Towns.

By the end of her career, said Greiman, I want to have “built a strong organization that designs sustainable communities.

“I want to coordinate neighborhoods into sustainably designed communities by developing combinations of environmentalism, economic sustainability and renewable energy,” she shared. Her primary focus is on local environmental planning policy, working with city councils and community groups to design green communities and to encourage green living habits.

“While many such sustainable initiatives have been started in urban areas like Boston and Minneapolis, my goal is to work primarily with rural towns struggling to find their niche and keep their citizens in a changing world.”

Greiman has already put her aspirations into action, she feels, by attending the University of Minnesota, Morris, “which is a prime example of a small town working towards sustainability and more economic independence. An environmental studies and psychology major, Greiman has interned with the Pomme de Terre River Association in Morris, assisting in taking water samples and in youth education. She developed a library of all residents and property owners within the Pomme de Terre watershed, an activity she said “acquainted [her] with many aspects of local government” as she worked with rural county assessors and city officers. She also created an internet survey for residents which the Association will use to assess basic citizen knowledge and decide what type of education and economic incentives will be required to take the Pomme de Terre off of the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency’s list of impaired water bodies.

She has also researched and designed Little Green Hands Corp, which brings elementary students into the environmental movement. If the schedule stays on track, said Greiman, the first Little Green Hands Corp meeting will be held in September 2009. She hopes to earn a master's degree in city planning and doctorate in health psychology.

Established by Congress in 1992 to honor Morris King Udall’s 30 years of service in the House of Representatives, the Morris K. Udall Foundation is dedicated to educating a new generation of Americans to preserve and protect their national heritage through studies in the environment and Native American health and tribal public policy. The Foundation is also committed to promoting the principles and practices of environmental conflict resolution.