GW Junior Michelle Stuhlmacher Wins Udall Scholarship

Udall Winner Michelle Stuhlmacher
April 30, 2014

It is with the greatest pleasure that the Center for Undergraduate Fellowships and Research (CUFR) announces that George Washington University junior, Michelle Stuhlmacher, has recently been named a recipient of the prestigious Udall Scholarship for 2014. Every year, the Morris K. Udall and Stewart L. Udall Foundation awards fifty scholarships nationwide to sophomore and junior-level college students who are dedicated to careers related to the environment, tribal public policy, or Native American health care. In addition to the financial award, Michelle especially expects to benefit from the contacts she makes throughout her career with the Udall community – national and international experts and activists specializing in environmental and tribal policy. In August, Michelle will get the opportunity to meet many of them in person when she attends the annual Udall Scholars conference in Tucson, Arizona.

At GW, Michelle has distinguished herself by contributing to environmental research on agroforestry, and a statistical analysis of the European Union’s cap-and-trade system. In Costa Rica during the summer of 2013, Michelle served as a member of Professor Achim Haeger's research team that examined how agroforestry may help mitigate the effects of climate change. Agroforests are farms planted below a tree canopy and Michelle’s main work was to compare plant biodiversity levels of agroforests and forest fragments to determine their similarity and to evaluate the factors that increased similarity.

As a research assistant for Professor Sanjay Patnaik, with the GW School of Business, Michelle helps to analyze the EU's carbon allocation reports and the companies' financial information to determine what kind of companies are most likely to financially exploit cap-and-trade agreements.

On the GW campus, Michelle is an instrumental member of the student environmental leadership team. A mainstay of Eco-Reps, Michelle’s efforts were instrumental in the creation of the University’s ecycling capability – the proper disposal of used electronics, florescent light bulbs, batteries and printer cartridges. Currently, ecycling stations have been established at five locations on campus, and since 2011, the amount of electronic material that was recycled has increased by seven tons. In January 2014, Michelle started as GW’s first Zero Waste Intern and has been promoting efforts to increase the campuses’ waste diversion rate.

In 2012, Michelle completed a formative internship with Anacostia Riverkeeper during which she studied the history of pollution along the Anacostia River and how it is negatively affecting those that live in the watershed. Michelle also interned with People’s Resource Center, an organization fighting hunger in her hometown of Wheaton, Illinois. This work was funded by GW’s Shapiro Public Service Award, which supports students performing unpaid public service.

In 2013, Michelle was awarded the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency’s (NOAA) Hollings Scholarship and this summer, as a Hollings Scholar, she will travel to the NOAA National Climate Data Center in North Carolina where she will contribute to a national study that will use a recently developed regional snowfall index in combination with societal indices to evaluate the impact of snowstorms from 1900 to today. In the fall, she expects to present the summer's research in the fall of her senior year.

In the future, Michelle plans to pursue a PhD in Geography. Ultimately, she hopes to conduct research on the human response to climate change and changes in land use, and how these can prevent or increase resilience to climate change.