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K-State Today

March 8, 2013

University nominates five students for Morris K. Udall Undergraduate Scholarship

Submitted by communications & Marketing

Kansas State University is nominating five students for the Morris K. Udall Undergraduate Scholarship. Those students are Anthony Meals, Clay Center; Kaitlin Morgan, Deerfield; Barret Wellemeyer, Derby; Jennifer Birzer, Ottawa; and Katherine Leise, Omaha, Neb.

Awarded to only 50 students each year, the Udall Scholarship is a national scholarship for college students committed to careers related to the environment, tribal public policy or Native American health care. Scholars are awarded up to $5,000. Recipients of the scholarship will be announced March 28.

With 22 Udall scholars, Kansas State University ranks fifth among all the four-year colleges and universities in the nation for total awardees since the scholarship program began in 1996. Udall nominees must have at least one full year of undergraduate study remaining to be eligible for the scholarship.

Meals, a senior in agricultural education, is a member of Kansas FFA, the university's Heifer International Club and the Agricultural Education Club. He has received the Mark Chapman Scholarship and CHS Scholarship and McNair Scholarship, and he has earned semester honors throughout his time at the university while also working full time.

Meals is conducting research in outdoor education with guidance from Shannon Washburn, associate professor of agricultural education. He volunteers as an exhibit interpreter at the Flint Hills Discovery Center and frequently organizes backpacking trips with friends. If awarded the Udall scholarship, Meals would like to continue his education in agricultural education, integrating outdoor education experiences into his future classroom. A 2009 graduate of Clay Center Community High School, he is the son of Sterling and Geralda Meals, Clay Center.

Morgan, a sophomore in both agricultural communications and animal sciences and industry, is a member of Sigma Alpha professional agricultural sorority, Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow and is a College of Agriculture ambassador. She received university honors for the fall 2011 and fall 2012 semesters.

Morgan works for news and media services in the university's department of communications and agricultural education. If awarded the Udall scholarship, she would like to continue her education in communications to increase awareness of environmentally friendly practices that are beneficial and profitable to production agriculture. A 2011 graduate of Deerfield High School, she is the daughter of Monte and Leslie Morgan, Deerfield. 

Wellemeyer, a sophomore in civil and environmental engineering, is a member of Delta Sigma Phi fraternity and the university chapter of American Society of Civil Engineers. He received the Putnam Scholarship and Greg Hardin Memorial Scholarship. He also is an Eagle Scout.

Wellemeyer has been outdoor events coordinator for Students for Environmental Action, scholarship director for Delta Sigma Phi, and recruitment chair and Ecuador water project manager for Engineers Without Borders. As a summer civil engineering undergraduate research assistant advised by Natalie Mladenov, assistant professor of civil engineering, Wellemeyer has studied the effects of atmospheric deposition on alpine lakes and rivers in Colorado. If awarded the Udall scholarship, Wellemeyer would like to get his master's in environmental engineering and find sustainable solutions for drinking water and sanitation in developing countries. A 2011 graduate of Derby High School, he is the son of Bob Wellemeyer, Derby.

Birzer, a senior in apparel marketing, is member of Sigma Kappa sorority, Students for Environmental Action and Kappa Omicron Nu family and consumer sciences honorary. Her awards, honors and scholarships include the Goss Discovery Scholarship, Kansas Association for Family and Consumer Sciences K-State Scholarship and the Sigma Kappa Outstanding Senior award. In addition, she is part of the university's honors program and received university honors for the fall 2010, spring 2011 and fall 2012 semesters.

Birzer has served as president of Study Abroad Mentors, a peer adviser for the university's study abroad office, homecoming float co-chair for Sigma Kappa and coordinator for the 2010 Fair Trade Fashion Show. She has volunteered for Boys and Girls Club and is a costume designer for Broadway at Baker, a musical theater summer camp. If awarded the Udall scholarship, Birzer would like to get her master's in environmental science or textile futures and help the apparel industry become more sustainable by raising awareness regarding clothing's environmental impacts. A 2009 graduate of Ottawa High School, she is the daughter of Tony and Betty Birzer, Ottawa.

Leise, a junior in landscape architecture, is on the educational awareness committee and events planning committee of the student chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects; the events planning committee and the community service committee for the student chapter of Women in Design; and the open house committee for the College of Architecture Planning and Design. Also, she is a College of Architecture Planning and Design student ambassador and student mentor. Her awards, honors and scholarships include the Design Days Facilities Choice Award, Irene Starr Memorial Scholarship and a National Association of Women in Construction Founders Scholarship. She has received university honors for fall 2010, spring 2011, fall 2011 and spring 2012 semesters.

Leise was head of the St. James youth group mission trip to the Winnebago Indian Reservation and a participant in the Real Food Lunch hosted through Ecumenical Campus Ministry. She is a career specialist with the university's Academic and Career Information Center and interned with the cultural resources department of the National Park Service from June 2012 to January 2013. If awarded the Udall scholarship, Leise would like to get her master's degree in landscape architecture and develop sustainable urban design construction methods to mitigate pollution, recycle materials and effectively manage storm water. A 2010 graduate of Duchesne Academy of the Sacred Heart in Omaha, Neb., she is the daughter of James and Brenda Leise, Omaha.