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Two U of M students named Udall Scholars

March 28, 2013

Katrina Klett and Marissa Kramer, both undergraduates at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities, have been selected as Udall Scholars for 2013.

The 50 scholars from across the U.S. were announced Thursday by the Morris K. and Stewart L. Udall Foundation, named for brothers who, combined, represented Southern Arizona in the U.S. House of Representatives for more than 35 years and worked together on numerous environmental and Native American initiatives.

These prestigious, congressionally funded scholarships honor exceptional students who are committed to careers related to the environment, tribal public policy or Native American health care. Udall Scholars receive up to $5000 for their undergraduate education and participate in Udall Foundation-sponsored leadership and networking activities.

Klett and Kramer, both juniors enrolled in the University Honors Program and the College of Liberal Arts, plan to pursue environmental-related careers. 

Katrina Klett, who is majoring in Asian languages and literatures/Chinese and minoring in sustainability studies, focuses on beekeeping as a means to alleviate poverty and protect biodiversity in developing countries. A Jamestown, N.D., resident, Klett spent her childhood traveling between the upper Midwest and Texas with her family’s beekeeping and queen bee breeding businesses. She co-founded and continues to oversee a beekeeping development project in 12 rural villages in Yunnan, China. As part of this project, she has designed and implemented community and children’s educational programs emphasizing biodiversity and environmental protection. She is also the beekeeping trainer for projects in Vietnam and Sierra Leone. Klett’s extensive experience in advocacy and environmental education includes a year of service as spokeswoman for the American Beekeeping Federation. At the university, she has conducted research with professor Marla Spivak of the Department of Entomology. 

"This is a huge honor for me, one I wouldn’t have received without the guidance I received at the U," said Klett. "I work with marginalized communities and am excited to collaborate with others who are interested in public policy, especially for Native Americans."

Marissa Kramer is a political science major from North Mankato, Minn.. She plans to work in environmental policy with a focus on reducing the disproportionate impact of environmental degradation on low-income and minority communities. Kramer has interned in Minnesota Congressman Tim Walz’s offices in Mankato and Washington, D.C. At the Mankato office, she developed highly successful workshops for constituents on how to apply for federal grants. She has been active in the Campus Beyond Coal initiative at the university and recently testified, alongside President Eric Kaler, at Minnesota Senate and House hearings on the need for funds to renovate the university’s power plant so that it can better support renewable energy. Kramer is a co-founder of the Minnesota Youth Environmental Network and directs the Minnesota Student Association’s Committee on University Policies and Student Concerns.

"I’m incredibly honored to be named a Udall scholar," said Kramer. "I plan to study abroad this coming fall in Hungary to see what European countries spend on environmental protection and how they protect citizens from environmental degradation, and this Udall scholarship will allow me to take this project even further."

This is the first time that the university’s Twin Cities campus has had two Udall scholars in the same year. Other recent recipients from UMTC are Eric Sannerud (2012) and Siri Simons (2011). The university is one of six institutions with more than one Udall Scholar this year. In past years, Udall Scholars have been selected from the University of Minnesota Morris and University of Minnesota Duluth.

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