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SU Senior Named 2019 Udall Scholar

Dr. Sonja Kolstoe  and Nicole Hammond
From left, Dr. Sonja Kolstoe  with student Nicole Hammond.

SALISBURY, MD---Salisbury University senior Courtney (Nicole) Hammond of Ellicott City, MD, is one of only 55 students nationwide to earn the 2019 Udall Scholarship.

A biology major and environmental studies minor, Hammond was selected for her commitment to environmental issues.

“Coming from a STEM background, I am extremely interested in the intersection of science, social science and humanities to address the complex environmental issues that our world faces,” she said. “One of my interests is issues surrounding water conservation and policies that affect minority communities.”

“Nicole is SU’s first winner of this prestigious award,” said Dr. Kristen Walton, director of SU’s Nationally Competitive Fellowships Office.

The Udall Foundation awards scholarships, fellowships and internships to undergraduates studying conservation and environmental issues, and to Native Americans and Alaska Natives in fields related to health care and Tribal public policy.

This year’s winners were selected by a 14-member independent review committee for their commitment to careers in these areas, leadership potential, record of public service and academic achievement. Some 384 students applied in the environment category; only 38 scholarships were awarded. Each provides up to $7,000 for the student’s junior or senior year.

Hammond joined the other Udall Scholars at a conference in Tucson, AZ, in August to learn about environmental policy, as well as Tribal health care and governance.

“The networks that the scholarship provides are ones that I will have for decades to come,” Hammond said. “Along with scholarship money, it offers a portal to an extensive group of diverse people who are engaged in a wide range of environmental issues.”

“It was re-energizing to interact with other students,” she added. “I couldn’t wait to get back to campus and get things going here.” 

Hammond said her interest in water issues stems from her current research project under Dr. Christina Bradley in the Biological Sciences Department, where she is studying the ecological impact of damming freshwater ecosystems.

She is also engaged in various environmental groups involving sustainability, education and grassroots climate advocacy. She is a student representative on the Green Fund Board and leader of the Environmental Student Association, and she was an intern for Citizens’ Climate Lobby. Recently, she presented with a group of students at the 2019 National Environmental Justice Conference under Dr. Shane Hall of the Environmental Studies Department. She also completed a summer undergraduate research fellowship in oceanography at the University of Rhode Island, a National Science Foundation Research Experience for Undergraduates site.

“I am so proud of Nicole. She represented SU well amongst an impressive group of young scholars,” said Dr. Sonja Kolstoe of the Economics and Finance and Environmental Studies departments. As SU’s Udall faculty representative, Kolstoe worked with Hammond in applying and was among the select few faculty representatives invited to attend the orientation.

“I was impressed by the scholar alumni community and the Udall Foundation members I met, as well as by the program they put together for this year’s scholars,” Kolstoe added. “The scholars met and interacted with an inspiring group of alumni, experts, professionals, invited guests, trustees and foundation members.”

Established by Congress in 1992, the Udall Foundation honors the legacies of Morris and Stewart Udall, brothers whose careers in public service had significant impacts on Native American self-governance, health care and stewardship of public lands and natural resources.

“Morris and Stewart Udall embody a lot of qualities that I aspire to have someday,” Hammond said.

More than 40 SU students have won national and international fellowships, scholarships and awards in the past five years.

For information about applying, SU students or alumni may contact Walton at or visit the National Fellowships Office website