Jennifer Rice, a doctoral candidate in the department of geography and regional development at The University of Arizona, has been selected as 2008 Udall Dissertation Fellow.
Rice is one of two fellows selected by an independent review committee of environmental scholars and professionals. She is the first Udall Fellow from the UA.
The Udall Dissertation Fellowship is awarded to outstanding doctoral candidates who have achieved distinction in their scholarly research and who are entering the final year of writing their dissertation. The dissertation topic must be significant and relevant to national environmental public policy and/or environmental conflict resolution. The award covers both academic and living expenses up to $24,000 for the year.
"It's quite an honor to have been selected for this dissertation fellowship," Rice said. "I know the Udall Foundation values academic research with real policy implications, and this award will help me pursue my own research interests in understanding and improving climate change policy in the U.S."
Rice's dissertation examines the emergence and spread of municipal climate change programs in the United States. Working with city officials and local interest groups, her work explores the science-policy networks that have prompted climate action at the local level in the U.S., with the goal that future policies can sustain and enhance these efforts.
Rice's engagement with the practical politics of environmental governance was sparked by her previous research with local activist organizations regarding water quality issues in Columbus, Ohio, as well as earlier work at the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and as an intern in the Texas House of Representatives.
Upon finishing her doctoral degree, Rice plans to continue pursuing her interests in environmental policy through research grounded in issues of social and ecological justice. " believe that being actively engaged in community outreach is an essential part of being an academic researcher, so I will continue to work on research related to how we can better address pressing environmental issues in the U.S. and beyond," Rice added.
Rice earned a bachelorï¿½s degree in geography from Texas State University-San Marcos and a masterï¿½s from Ohio State University. She is also a recipient of a Doctoral Dissertation Research Improvement Grant from the National Science Foundation.
The Morris K. Udall Foundation is an independent federal agency that awards the premier merit-based scholarships, fellowships and internships for studies related to the environment and Native American policy in the United States.
Since 1996, the foundation has awarded 994 scholarships of $5,000 each and 24 doctoral fellowships of $24,000 each, and has placed 149 American Indian interns in congressional and executive branch offices. In addition to its education programs, the foundation includes the U.S. Institute for Environmental Conflict Resolution, which provides mediation and related services to help resolve federal environmental disputes nationwide.
Congress created the Udall Foundation in 1992 to honor late Congressman Morris Udallï¿½s legacy of public service. Udall represented Southern Arizona in the House of Representatives for three decades, a career distinguished by civility, integrity and consensus.
His love for the environment resulted in numerous pieces of legislation, chief among them the Alaska Lands Act of 1980, which doubled the size of the national park system and tripled our national wilderness. Udall also championed the rights of American Indians and Alaska natives, using his leadership in Congress to strengthen tribal self-governance.