In the past month, Colorado State University undergraduate Brianne Lauro has won two of the most prestigious scholarships established by Congress.
In April, she was one of two CSU undergraduates to be named a Truman Scholar, a highly competitive $30,000 graduate fellowship program for students pursuing public service careers. Now, she is a Udall Scholar, an honor recognizing those committed to careers focusing on the environment, Native American issues or health care.
Lauro, a junior in the Warner College of Natural Resources, was one of 55 students from 48 colleges and universities to be selected as a 2020 Udall Scholar. Each scholarship provides up to $7,000 for the scholar’s junior or senior year.
“These two awards reflect more than what I’ve done. They embody the sacrifices made by the people who came before me,” said Lauro, who is from Kailua-Kona, Hawaii. “Just a few generations ago, my family labored on Hawaii’s plantations. They’ve always worked hard. In essence, the table I eat at is one that was set long ago.”
In her Udall Scholar application, Lauro focused on U.S. Rep. Morris K. Udall’s 1971 speech, “Politics and Morality: Where Leaders Fail,” drawing parallels to today’s political climate. She plans to study and pursue a career connected to public policy, land and natural resources, and Indigenous people in Hawaii.
Lauro has been on the Warner College dean’s list four out of five times in her academic career and has also won the college’s R.S. Knaub Science Award for sustainability innovation.
Currently, she is a congressional intern at U.S. Rep. Joe Neguse’s district office in Fort Collins and a research assistant for a National Science Foundation study on Indigenous data stewardship led by CSU faculty member Dominique David-Chavez.
David-Chavez first met Lauro as a freshman at CSU’s graduate resource fair. There, David-Chavez said Lauro had a clear vision for her future and was already learning all she could to map out a pathway where she could make a positive impact for her Hawaiian community.
“It’s been a real honor to work with someone with such a genuinely positive nature, who is so hardworking and insightful,” David-Chavez said. “Whatever career path she embarks on, I am sure she will leave a legacy that we can all learn from.”
About the Udall Scholarship program
Established by Congress in 1992 as an independent executive branch agency to honor U.S. Rep. Morris K. Udall, the Udall Foundation awards scholarships, fellowships and internships for study in fields related to the environment and to Native Americans and Alaska Natives in the fields of health care and tribal public policy.
Since the Udall Scholarships were established in 1996, the Udall Foundation has awarded 1,733 scholarships totaling more than $8.8 million.
Current CSU undergraduate students interested in applying for a Udall Scholarship can contact Mary Swanson, program director of the Office for Scholarship and Fellowship Advising, at firstname.lastname@example.org.