Four Yale Seniors Win Morris K. Udall Scholarships

Four Yale seniors have won scholarships awarded by the Morris K. Udall Foundation, which supports students working on environmental issues or matters related to Native American health care and tribal policy.

Each year, the Foundation awards undergraduate scholarships of up to $5,000 to juniors and seniors who fulfill the Foundation’s mission. The four Yale student winners are Noah S. Chesnin, of Seattle, Wash.; Livia K. DeMarchis, of Burlington, Vt; Andrew D. Klaber, of Buffalo Grove, Ill.; and William W. Parish, of New York City. Yale is the only institution in the country with four Udall scholarship winners this year.

Chesnin, also a 2002 Udall scholar, served as a member and co-chair of the Yale Student Environmental Coaltion (YSEC), organized an environmental lecture series and helped create a network for alumni interested in environmental issues. He was involved in the effort at Berkeley College’s dining hall to provide locally-grown organic food on its menu. For the past several summers, he worked for the Chehalis Tribal Department of Resources located south of Seattle and the Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) in Washington D.C. This summer, he will work for the United Nations Environment Program in their Environmental Law Branch in Nairobi, Kenya.

“I am honored to win the Udall scholarship for the second time,” Chesnin said. “The community of students and young professionals linked by this scholarship is phenomenal and has provided me with constant support and guidance in the environmental projects I have led at Yale.”

DeMarchis’ volunteer work centered on environmental education and last year’s LEAP program – “Water World” – that taught New Haven school children about the water cycle. This year, as her Yale Student Environmental Coalition (YSEC) project, she led an environmental education and mentoring effort at a local Head Start preschool that encouraged children’s interest in nature through books, art, singing and hands-on activities such as planting seeds. She is an environmental studies major focusing on ecology and plans to pursue a career in conservation biology.

“It’s an honor to have been named a Udall Scholar,” DeMarchis said. “I am very grateful to the many people at home and at Yale who have encouraged and supported my interest in the environment.”

Klaber, also a two-time Udall winner, received the President’s Environmental Youth Award from President George W. Bush and Christine Todd Whitman, secretary of the Environmental Protection Agency, in the White House Rose Garden in April 2001 for his commitment to improving the recycled paper industry. One of his projects, located at buyrecycledpaper.hypermart.net, saved thirty American schools $16,000 annually and helped them conserve 150 million sheets of paper each year.

“Congressman Udall was a leader who helped create and mold our nation’s environmental consciousness,” Klaber said. “Consequently, receiving the award that bears his name is a great honor.”

Parish is co-chair of the Yale student environmental coalition, which worked on environmental education in public schools, built a network of New Haven groups to promote sustainability, began a compost program, pushed for tree-free paper and worked with dining services to serve more organic and local food. He is also a primary organizer for a group of environmentally-conscious students in the northeast with whom he will seek pertinent legislation that affects the environment.

“This scholarship is not only an honor but also a wonderful opportunity to meet some of the most active student environmental leaders in the country,” Parish said. “I hope this event helps to lay the foundation for better networking among students for promoting environmental sustainability in the U.S.”

The U.S. Congress established the Morris K. Udall Foundation in 1992 to honor Udall’s thirty years of service in the House of Representatives. His career was distinguished by a commitment to preservation of the nation’s natural environment. Consistent with these values, the Foundation is committed to educating a new generation of Americans to preserve and protect their national heritage through studies in the environment, Native American health and tribal policy, and effective public policy conflict resolution.

The Foundation’s activities are supported by the interest accrued in a federal trust fund and by contributions from the private sector. The Foundation is an executive branch agency and the president appoints its board of trustees with the advice and consent of the U.S. Senate.