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Steffanie Munguia, junior

CAS student receives Udall Scholarship

TAMPA, Fla. -- Steffanie Munguia of the University of South Florida has been awarded a Udall Foundation Scholarship for 2015, one of only 50 students to receive this award in the United States. The award is given for a commitment to the environment and awardees receive a $5,000 scholarship to support research related to the environment. Munguia also becomes a member of a national, professional network of scientists, activists, educators, lawyers and others working on environmental issues. This network of change agents will support Munguia's goals of generating change in our understanding of and response to environmental challenges.

Munguia is an Honors College junior pursuing dual bachelor of science degrees in integrative animal biology and environmental science and policy. In 2014, Munguia was awarded the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Hollings Scholarship for her undergraduate research and advocacy efforts in conservation and, in the summer of 2013, she was selected for a National Science Foundation Research Experience for Undergraduates where she studied with Alice Boyle, Ph.D. of Kansas State University.

At USF and in the College of Arts and Sciences, Munguia has distinguished herself as undergraduate researcher who has contributed to a range of research efforts. She has worked under the guidance of professors Jason Rohr, Lynn Martin, and most recently, Munguia has been a research assistant in Peter Stiling's lab under graduate student, Jason Richardson, who is studying black spiny tailed iguana invasion in Florida. This summer, Munguia will be completing an internship with NOAA at a National Estuarine Research Reserve in Maine, where she will be developing a comprehensive youth-friendly field guide that emphasizes ecosystem interactions to observe how the incorporation of illustration and the concept of interconnectedness increases learning and environmental stewardship in different age groups.

Munguia is currently the president of the USF Herpetology Club and a member of several other academic and pre-professional societies on campus. Munguia’s activities in conservation advocacy have extended well beyond the borders of the USF campus. In her current position of leadership within conservation advocacy for Audubon Florida, Munguia has worked hard to bridge generational and cultural gaps by coordinating Audubon Florida’s Conservation Leadership Initiative (CLI). She is also a member of the Tampa Bay Area Environmental Professionals, has a board position of Lake Region Audubon Society Youth Outreach Coordinator, writes and co-edits local environmental newsletters, and participates in citizen science programs such as Eagle Watch, Jay Watch, Osprey Watch and building sparrow brush piles. She has served as an advocate for the sustainable use of public lands under the Environmental Lands Program, Florida’s Water and Land Conservation Amendment, and the PEW Environmental Group Sustainable Fisheries Campaign. Munguia is developing skills to disseminate her knowledge as well and she has worked with Audubon Florida to film a documentary and collect images for a photographic presentation.

Following her graduation from USF, Munguia plans to pursue a master’s of science in environmental sciences and policy and a career with a national non-profit organization or a federal agency that emphasizes science-driven policy to address environmental challenges.

The Office of National Scholarships identifies, recruits and mentors high achieving students to apply for national merit scholarships across all disciplines. The scholarships and fellowships are for creative, motivated and academically strong students who are leaders in and out of the classroom.

Established by Congress in 1992 to honor Morris K. Udall’s 30 years of service in the House of Representatives and enhanced by Congressional action in 2009 to honor Stewart L. Udall’s vast public service, the Morris K. Udall and Stewart L. Udall Foundation is dedicated to educating a new generation of Americans to preserve and protect their national heritage through scholarship, fellowship and internship programs focused on environmental and Native American issues. The Udall Foundation also is committed to promoting the principles and practices of environmental conflict resolution.


Filed under:Arts and Sciences Integrative Biology Student Success Research  
Author:Lauren Chambers, MPH