2023 Environmental Science Scholarship Winners

Environmental Science Scholarships

PAEP offers three student scholarship awards each year for qualified full-time students in higher education. The three scholarships are:

  • Gifford Pinchot Scholarship. Named in honor of Gifford Pinchot, a leader in the conservation efforts in the United States, this scholarship is awarded to a freshman or sophomore in environmental science or related curriculum.
  • Maurice Goddard Scholarship: In honor of Maurice Goddard, the ‘Patriarch of Pennsylvania State Parks’, this scholarship is awarded to a junior or senior in environmental science or related curriculum.
  • Zulene Mayfield Scholarship: Named in honor of Zulene Mayfield who is an activist and leader fighting for pollution accountability, this scholarship is awarded to a student of any year standing and enrolled in environmental science or related curriculum and is part an underrepresented group in higher education enrollees.

The 2023 PAEP Scholarship period has closed and the winners have been selected. Congratulations to Elizabeth Bruner, Alysha Ulrich, and Grace Hassing, this year’s winners!

Elizabeth Bruner wins the 2023 PAEP Gifford Pinchot Scholarship!

Elizabeth is currently enrolled at Pennsylvania State University, Dubois Campus with a 3.91 GPA, majoring in Wildlife Technology. Elizabeth is a member of the Wildlife Society Club, currently serving as the Treasurer. She serves the university as a Lion Ambassador and is part of the Student Activity Fee Committee on campus. Throughout her high school career and now in college, Elizabeth has held a variety of leadership positions, winning many awards for her hard work, including most recently the Evergreen Service Award through the Evergreen Conservancy and achieving the Dean’s List for her first two semesters at Penn State.  She is also a volunteer with Trout Unlimited, helping to assess habitat and completing water quality surveys. Elizabeth served many years as 4-H Member, participating in public speaking and presentation contests at the county, regional, state, and national levels.  Elizabeth completed all levels of the Clover Leadership Ladder and finished her Diamond Award, where she planned and conducted a three-day environmental camp for local youth.  This summer, Elizabeth will be working as a forestry intern for the Pennsylvania Game Commission in Clearfield County, assisting foresters by marking timber and boundary lines, tallying trees, observing prescribed fires, and collecting data through SILVAH plots.  Elizabeth hopes to graduate with an associate degree in wildlife technology and a bachelor’s degree in forest ecosystem management and then pursue a career as a forester, managing timber to benefit wildlife and the overall forest ecosystem.  She is also considering becoming a forest firefighter to help battle forest fires throughout the United States.

Alysha Ulrich wins the 2023 PAEP Maurice Goddard Scholarship! 

Alysha is enrolled at Pennsylvania State University and is a student in Penn State’s Schreyer Honors College. With a 3.86 GPA, Alysha is majoring in Earth Science and Policy and minoring in Political Science and Environmental Inquiry. Alysha served as the Sustainability/Inter-Committee Liaison Captain on the Hospitality committee for THON 2023, where she interviewed, selected, led, and prepared 24 students to fundraise, further THON’s mission, and serve meals at all THON events this past year. This experience was one of her most challenging yet rewarding endeavors and she will forever regard her contributions to raising a record-breaking total exceeding $15 million for THON 2023 as one of her greatest accomplishments. Alysha has also been a member of Penn State’s Student Sustainability Advisory Council (SSAC), which is a cohort of 20-25 University Park students who present research-based proposals to University Administration at the end of each semester that aim to improve on-campus sustainability efforts. Alysha was appointed to the SSAC in the spring of 2020 and served as a Zero Waste working group member for two years before being selected to lead as co-chair. Her time in SSAC has been truly transformative, enhancing her understanding of how change is initiated via stakeholder communication, benchmarking, and proposal refinement, as well as developing her public speaking, communication, and teamwork skills. Throughout her college career, Alysha has been awarded a variety of experiences and accolades, some of which include participating as a panelist on the Students as Changemakers Panel at Penn State’s Sustainability Summit and the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources’ Think Outside Panel addressing academic preparedness, climate action, and climate communication; publishing a literature review addressing the impact of climate misinformation on public support for and perception of climate policy in Stanford University’s Intersect Journal of Science, Technology, and Society; and earning the Girl Scout Gold Award, the highest achievement of the Girl Scouts of the USA earned by 5.4% of eligible Girl Scouts. To top those achievements off, Alysha will also be presenting her research on climate misinformation at the PAEP 2023 Conference. Last summer Alysha was a Federal Sustainability Intern with the White House Council on Environmental Quality. She was assigned to the Zero Emissions Vehicles (ZEV) Team and Sustainable Supply Chains and Net-Zero Procurement Team under the Office of the Chief Sustainability Officer to fulfill President Biden’s Executive Order 14057 toward the adoption of clean energy and the introduction of jobs in the clean energy sector. Some of her responsibilities included creating a digital data dashboard in Excel to streamline data documentation reporting Federal agency efforts for fleet electrification and electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE) implementation; conducting and presenting a desk study on Federal and private single-use plastics policies to improve this understanding; and analyzing and presenting findings on procurement strategies addressed in Federal agencies’ Climate Adaptation Plans to improve understandings of existing considerations for sustainability during procurement processes. Alysha aspires to combine her passions for environmental preservation and communication by pursuing a career in climate policy.

Grace Hassing is the first winner of the new PAEP Zulene Mayfield Scholarship! 

Grace is beginning her Senior year at Pennsylvania State University. She is a Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences major with a 3.23 GPA. Grace is involved in a variety of clubs and organizations, some of which include Captain of the Penn State Club XC, Photography Chair of the Nittany Grotto Caving Club, The Penn State Wildlife Society, EcoReps, and the Pennsylvania Governor’s School for Excellence in the Agricultural Sciences Alumni Group. During her time at Penn State, Grace made Dean’s List and has been awarded the Wegmans Employee Scholarship, Wilbur W. Ward Memorial Scholarship, Irvin C. Reigner Endowment, Stewards Scholarship for Study Abroad, and Americorps Education Scholarship. Grace has a passion for wildlife and conservation, which has been solidified through her experiences outside of the classroom, such as study abroad, internships, and volunteer work, which allowed Grace to immerse herself in hands-on wildlife biology activities. During the summer of 2022, Grace had the incredible opportunity to serve as a Biology Intern for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service at Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge in Oceanville, NJ. She took part in many projects, some of which included conducting Surface Elevation Tables to measure change in elevation of wetland sediments, participating in the Mid-Atlantic Tidal Wetlands Rapid Assessment Method (MidTRAM) to assess condition of tidal wetlands, assisting with banding of Canadian geese and tagging of horseshoe crabs, engaging in beach nesting bird surveys alongside the Saltmarsh Habitat and Avian Research Program Team, surveying for tiger beetles, and collecting dragonfly larvae. Grace noted that this internship opened her eyes to a multitude of career pathways within the government and developed her proficiency in utilizing various tools and technologies, including Survey 123, ArcGIS, and Audacity.  As a result of this internship, Grace secured her current position within the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service where she contributes to data management and field surveys for the threatened Yellow-Billed Cuckoo in Tucson, Arizona. Her efforts directly assisted with the conservation and recovery of this species under the Endangered Species Act. Additionally, during the past spring semester, she had the unique opportunity to study wildlife management in Tanzania and Kenya with the School for Field Studies. This experience deeply impacted her perspective on conservation and wildlife management and challenged her to reconsider her role in environmental change. Her passion for sharing her study abroad journey and inspiring others to start their own led her to become an Education Abroad Peer Advisor at Penn State for the 2023-2024 academic year. After graduation, Grace is committed to furthering her education by pursuing a higher degree in this field and her future plans are focused on a career in wildlife biology, where she can contribute to species conservation, habitat restoration, and the sustainable management of ecosystems and have a meaningful impact on the world.

Thank you to all the very qualified applicants! You should be very proud of your accomplishments.

Also, thank you to the PAEP Student & Scholarship Committee for your hard work and support…Virginia Bailey, Jessica Brzyski, Michelle Goddard, JT Graupensperger, Jason Minnich, and Angela Schreffler!

Finally, just a reminder that we will be holding a silent auction to raise money for our Scholarship Fund at the Annual Conference this September. Please consider donating a themed basket of your choosing to the auction. Your past donations have allowed us to provide these worthwhile scholarships to support the education of our up-and-coming environmental professionals and we look forward to your continued support during this year’s conference.

Student & Scholarship Co-Chairs: Kristin Aiosa and Mike Kenawell

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