Iowa State University student selected to be 2010 Udall Scholar

AMES, Iowa -- Samuel Bird, an Iowa State University second-year student in global resource systems and economics from Gilbert, has been named a 2010 Udall Scholar by the Udall Foundation. The foundation, established by Congress in 1992, awards scholarships to undergraduate students committed to careers related to the environment or Native American issues. The award was announced today by the University Honors Program, which coordinates nominations and applications.

Bird was selected as one of 80 scholars from a field of applicants nominated by universities and colleges throughout the United States. Another Iowa State student -- Clark Colby, a senior in architecture and environmental studies from Urbandale -- received one of 50 honorable mentions. They were selected from a field of 537 candidates nominated by 256 colleges and universities.

Scholars are selected for their participation in campus activities, research or service that demonstrates a commitment to environmental, natural resource, or Native American health care or tribal policy. Scholarships go to students who show promise of making significant contributions in these areas through scientific advances, service or community action.

Bird lived and worked in Uganda last summer as part of the ISU-Makerere University Uganda Service Learning Program. For the past three years, he has organized an annual fundraiser to purchase building supplies for schools in Uganda. Bird is president of the ISU International Agriculture Club, and represented the International Association of Students in Agricultural and Related Sciences at the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development in New York City in 2009. He has worked as a learning community peer mentor, and as a research assistant for Sociology Associate Professor Robert Mazur, analyzing household surveys from Uganda. Bird will participate in the 2010 Dean's Global Agriculture and Food Program, conducting research at Biodiversity International in Rome. He is a member of the Honors Program and Cardinal Key honorary society.

"I am interested in marketing practices that can improve small-scale farmer incomes in developing countries," Bird said. "And I hope to one day work in the research and development of approaches to foster rural development."

Following graduation in May 2012, he plans to attend graduate school in applied economics and sustainable development.

"This honor certainly encourages me to continue studying sustainable development and examine development issues from both an economic and environmental perspective," Bird said.

The 2010 Udall Scholars will assemble in August in Tucson, Ariz., to receive their awards and meet policymakers and community leaders in environmental fields, tribal health care and governance. The Udall Scholar receives a scholarship of up to $5,000.

Bird graduated from Ames High School in 2008.