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Six students nominated for Udall Scholarships

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

LAWRENCE — Six students at the University of Kansas are nominees for Udall Undergraduate Scholarships, which recognize students who demonstrate leadership, public service and commitment in the fields of tribal public policy, Native health care or the environment.

KU’s nominees:

  • Madison Foster, a sophomore from Topeka double-majoring in ecology, evolution & organismal biology and global & international studies
  • Tracey Funk, a junior from Topeka majoring in ecology, evolution & organismal biology
  • Rachel Heitmann, a junior from Hebron, Nebraska, majoring in environmental studies
  • Cassaundra Pino, a junior from Albuquerque, New Mexico, double-majoring in ecology, evolution & organismal biology and sociology
  • Mara Schlichting, a sophomore from Hiawatha majoring in ecology, evolution & organismal biology
  • Julia Sunnarborg, a sophomore from Bloomington, Minnesota, majoring in ecology, evolution & organismal biology.

The Udall Undergraduate Scholarship is a federal scholarship that honors the legacies of Morris Udall and Stewart Udall, two former Arizona congressmen whose careers had an effect on American Indian self-governance, health care and the stewardship of public lands and natural resources.

The Udall Foundation administers the program. This year, the foundation will award 60 students with scholarships of up to $7,000 each, access to the Udall Alumni Network and a four-day scholar orientation in Tucson, Arizona. Students must be nominated by their university to apply, and universities are limited in the total number of nominations they can make.

At KU, the nomination process is coordinated by the Office of Fellowships in Undergraduate Studies.

“These students are outstanding examples of KU’s commitment to leadership and service,” said Anne Wallen, program director of the Office of Fellowships. “We’re proud of these students, who demonstrate such commitment to their chosen fields.”

Madison Foster is the daughter of Andrew and Laura Perkins of Topeka and Kevin Foster of Kansas City. Foster is a candidate in the environmental field. A graduate of Shawnee Heights High School, at KU Foster has been involved with the Environs student group, the All Scholarship Hall Council, the University Honors Program and as an undergraduate researcher in the Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology. She has completed internships with the Douglas County Health Department and at Pholia Farms in Oregon.

Tracey Funk is the daughter of Steve and Sue Ann Funk of Topeka. A graduate of Shawnee Heights High School, Tracey Funk is a candidate in the environmental field. At KU, she has been involved with undergraduate research in the KU River Ecology Lab, the University Honors Program, KU Scholarship Halls and the Marching Jayhawks. She has completed internships with the Topeka Zoo and Conservation Center and with the Friends of the Kaw.

Rachel Heitmann is the daughter of Darcy Heitmann and Anne Heitmann. A graduate of Thayer Central High School, she is a candidate in the environmental field. At KU, Foster has served as proctor and environmental chair of Miller Scholarship Hall, as a Koinonia Retreat Team Leader and the Marching Jayhawks. She has worked at Camp Tekakwitha of the Archdiocese of Kansas City, Kansas, and completed an internship with the Land Institute in Salina.

Cassaundra Pino is the daughter of Karen McMahon and William Pino II. A graduate of Albuquerque High School and a member of the Pueblo of Acoma, Pino is a candidate in the tribal public policy field. At KU, Pino is a member of the women’s swim team, the University Honors Program and the First Nations Student Association. She has completed an internship with High Water Mark Company in New Mexico and been a volunteer swim instructor at the Acoma Youth Summer Camp.

Mara Schlichting is the daughter of Ken and Nancy Schlichting. A graduate of Hiawatha High School and a member of the Iowa Tribe of Kansas, Schlichting is a candidate in the Native health care field. At KU, Schlichting has completed the undergraduate research certificate and received the TRIO SES and STEM Scholar Award. She has been involved with the First Nations Student Association and the KU Blood Drive Committee. She is one of the organizers of the annual powwow for the Iowa Tribe of Kansas.

Julia Sunnarborg is the daughter of Dan and Stephanie Sunnarborg. A graduate of Thomas Jefferson Senior High School, she is a candidate in the environmental field. At KU Sunnarborg has been involved in undergraduate research, the University Honors Program, the Adventure Club and the Hammock Club. She completed an internship with the Marine Coastal and Ecology Research Center in Turks and Caicos studying humpback whales.