Kara Dodson of Lynchburg, Va., a junior environmental resources management major in Virginia Tech’s College of Natural Resources and Environment, has received a 2011 Udall Scholarship from the Morris K. Udall and Stewart L. Udall Foundation.

Dodson serves as president of the Virginia Tech Environmental Coalition and a student representative on the University Energy and Sustainability Committee. She began her educational career at Virginia Tech as a civil engineering major concentrating on water sanitation and distribution before switching to environmental resources management.

“Over the last few years, I’ve really focused my personal education from technical answers to environmental issues to natural ones,” said Dodson.

The Morris K. Udall and Steward L. Udall Foundation, established in 1992 to honor Arizona Congressman Morris King Udall’s 30-year legacy of public service, was created to provide federally funded scholarships for college students pursuing careers related to the environment, as well as to Native American students pursuing tribal policy or health care careers.

Dodson is one of 80 students from 61 colleges and universities, and the only one from Virginia, to receive a 2011 Udall Scholarship. Recipients are selected by a 14-member independent review committee on the basis of commitment to careers in the environment, health care, or tribal public policy; leadership potential; and academic achievement.

“The Udall is one of the prestigious national awards and a major accomplishment by Kara,” said Paul Winistorfer, dean of the College of Natural Resources and Environment.

Dodson received a $5,000 scholarship, the highest amount awarded, and will travel to Tucson, Ariz., with other recipients to meet policymakers and community leaders in environmental fields, tribal health care, and government.

“I was flattered,” Dodson said. “It’s hard to imagine myself as accomplished as other Udall scholars.”

After graduation, Dodson hopes to work with the Watershed Alliance, a global movement of water advocates who patrol and protect over 100,000 miles of rivers, streams, and coastlines around the world. Her future plans include attending graduate school in the Appalachia region to study natural resources.

Written by Laura Doody of Woodbridge, Va., a junior majoring in communication in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences.