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UW Haub School Recognizes 2013 Plummer Interdisciplinary Excellence Scholars

May 22, 2013
Four students
These students were awarded Plummer Plummer Interdisciplinary Excellence Scholarships recognizing exemplary interdisciplinary achievements relevant to environment and natural resources. From left are Eric Krszjzaniek, Madison, Wis.; Bailey Schreiber, Jackson; Chelsea Biondolillo, Portland, Ore.; and Megan Taylor, Swainsboro, Ga.

The University of Wyoming Haub School of Environment and Natural Resources (ENR) awarded Plummer Interdisciplinary Excellence Scholarships to four UW graduate students.

Chelsea Biondolillo, Portland, Ore.; Eric Krszjzaniek, Madison, Wis.; Bailey Schreiber, Jackson; and Megan Taylor, Swainsboro, Ga., each receive a $5,000 scholarship to support continuing graduate studies that bridge academic disciplines. The awards recognize exemplary interdisciplinary achievements relevant to environment and natural resources.

"This field is characterized by innovation. The most effective environmental and natural resource leaders appreciate the perspectives and experiences of others, and find novel ways to integrate knowledge," says Courtney Carlson, Haub School academic programs assistant director. "These outstanding students who bring together ideas from many disciplines will be at the forefront of creative problem solving in the coming decades."

Biondolillo is pursuing a Master of Fine Arts in creative nonfiction writing with a double major in environment and natural resources. In January, as a participant in the Haub School’s international course to study environmental management in Spain’s Canary Islands, her interest in the plight of the world’s vultures was piqued when she learned how legislation to manage mad cow disease was threatening the birds. She is now working on a book in which stories about vultures convey how human development and climate change create ecological and sociological impacts around the world. Biondolillo will spend several weeks this summer at Belgium’s Antwerp Zoo, learning and writing about the plight of European vultures as one chapter for her book.

Krszjzaniek is entering the second year of his Master of Arts in English and ENR. He brings a background as curriculum coordinator of the Midwest Renewable Energy Association, which provides educational and demonstration materials to promote renewable energy and sustainable living, to his studies at UW. He will spend part of the coming year traveling around North America researching how the idea of "wilderness" influences people's environmental ethic.

“The underlying question I ask is whether environmentalism is a tool of language or language is a tool of environmentalism,” he says.

Schreiber is earning a joint Juris Doctorate/Master of Arts in law and environment and natural resources. She is particularly interested in environmental law and in ways that communities create laws to identify and prioritize connections to resources such as open space, outdoor recreation, waterways or energy development. Her studies as a law student focus on land ownership and how public and private rights affect land and resources. She hopes to apply the knowledge she gains as a law/ENR student at UW to help people build lasting solutions to western environmental problems.

While studying invasive plant species management as a master’s student in rangeland ecology and watershed management, Taylor became concerned about the divide she saw between scientists and the public. She decided to pursue a second master’s degree in public administration and environment and natural resources, which she anticipates completing next year. She says collaborative processes are critical to helping the scientific community exchange information with public land and resource users, and hopes to find a career working on land restoration and habitat preservation with an environmental organization or government agency.

Each year, the Haub School of Environment and Natural Resources makes awards available to UW students through a private endowment from Evelyn S. and Chiles P. Plummer. Selection criteria include academic performance, extracurricular merit and demonstrated financial need.

Through its academic programs and institutes, the Haub School provides tools to build lasting solutions to environment and natural resource challenges. This includes skills in critical thinking, interdisciplinary approaches, collaborative decision making, and application of sound science.

For more information, contact Emilene Ostlind, communications coordinator, Haub School of ENR, at or (307) 766-4599.

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