Junior Renee Wellman Receives Udall Scholarship

Junior Renee Wellman Receives Udall Scholarship

Renee Wellman

Junior Renee Wellman, a SESP social policy major, has been awarded the Udall Scholarship. She is the first Northwestern student in five years to win the award.

The Udall Foundation, a U.S. federal agency, awards scholarships for leadership, public service and commitment to issues related to American Indian nations or to the environment. Scholarship winners receive $5,000 for tuition and expenses. Northwestern nominates up to six students each year after holding an internal competition to select nominees.

Wellman showed her dedication to environmental issues as co-president of Wild Roots, which developed a public gardening space for Northwestern. “Wild Roots is meant to provide a relaxing but educational space for students to learn about sustainable gardening practices while also starting conversations about sustainability, social justice and the wider food system,” Wellman says. At Northwestern, Wellman is also the finance chair of Real Food at NU and a member of the varsity women's cross country team. 

Wellman recognizes the similarity between her goals and those of the Udall Foundation. “The Udall Foundation prioritizes protecting the environment as well as consensus. I believe that increased cooperation between diverse organizations, interests and fields of study effectively address environmental issues and related social concerns. In the future, I hope to facilitate these collaborative efforts,” she says.

As a Udall Scholar, Wellman will have the opportunity to attend an orientation in Tucson this August to meet other scholars and alumni and develop new skills. “By attending the conference, I hope to learn from other students and leaders who are passionate about similar issues but view them from a different perspective,” says Wellman

In the future, Wellman hopes to hold a position in a nonprofit or local government that allows her to promote sustainable urban development. Eventually she plans to go to graduate school for a master’s degree in public affairs that focuses on environmental issues.  

Her studies at SESP have given Wellman background for making a difference for the environment. “SESP courses have taught me to appreciate the complexity inherent in the policy making process and the intersection of many different social problems. Environmental issues cannot be separated from their historical, economic, social contexts," she says. "SESP has also helped me consider the different ways that environmental issues can be addressed. For example, community development and government policy are both valuable tools despite the different ways they may choose to address the same issue.”

By Marilyn Sherman
Last Modified: 4/15/15