April 26, 2011

Lin ’13 and Schoen ’12 Win Udall Scholarships

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Karen C. Lin ’13 and Andrew Schoen ’12 were awarded $5,000 Morris K. Udall Scholarships after they were selected from a nationwide pool of 510 applicants from 231 schools, the Morris K. Udall and Stewart L. Udall Foundation announced April 12.

The Udall Scholarships recognize sophomores and juniors who have excelled academically and have interests in environmental careers, tribal public policy, or Native health care related careers, according to the foundation’s website.

Lin said she first became interested in the environment in high school when she ran cross country and spent much of her time outdoors. At Cornell, she is currently a project manager of Cornell University Sustainable Design: Schoolhouse South Africa, a project, in which University architecture students design proposals for a schoolhouse and teacher training facility in Cosmo City, South Africa. She is also the editor-in-chief of CUSD’s 200-page reference book.

“[My participation in CUSD] was a driving force for why I decided to apply for the scholarship,” Lin said.

Schoen, who received an honorable mention last year, attributed his selection as a scholar to his unique interests in both economics and environmental issues. A double major in economics in the College of Arts and Sciences and science and earth systems in the College of Engineering, Schoen originally began college as an economics major at the University of California, Santa Barbara. There, he became interested in the sciences after taking a couple of classes in the environmental sciences to fulfill distribution requirements.

“I have a tendency to combine the things I’m studying. With the sciences of earth systems major, not a lot of other students have a solid economics foundation, which makes me unique in that sense,” Schoen said.

Before transferring to Cornell, Schoen conducted research regarding the link between toxic emissions and economic output at UCSB. He also spent a semester at the University of Cambridge, where he studied both economics and the environment.

“In one of my ecology classes [at Cambridge], we applied economic models to the environmental system, which was really interesting,” Schoen said.

At Cornell, he is currently the managing director of the Cornell Venture Capitalist Club, and said he hopes to pursue a career that combines these two interests, such as working in an environmentally-sustainable venture capitalist firm.

Schoen and Lin said the scholarship application process has been beneficial. When he first began the application, Schoen was overwhelmed by a short answer question that asked applicants to briefly describe their career goals.

“One of the cool things about applying for a scholarship like the [Udall] is that it forces you to put into writing what you want to do … It really asks you to boil it down to something really concise,” Schoen said.

Lin echoed Schoen’s sentiments, saying that before she began her application, she had not thought concretely about her post-graduation plans.

“I think they purposely made this scholarship only available for sophomores and juniors, because that’s the perfect time to stop and think about if you like your major or the path you’re going down,” said Lin, who said she wants to pursue a career in high density development.

Lin, who grew up in cities such as Guangzhou, Singapore, and Shanghai, said making development denser will create more opportunities for cities to become sustainable.

“When you first think of cities, you don’t think of sustainability, but the more I think about it, the more I think it is much more efficient and responsible way of living,” Lin said.

According to Beth Fiori, Cornell Career Services fellowship coordinator, typically about twelve to fifteen students apply for the scholarship for the six endorsed Cornell spots. This year, the University received twelve applicants and endorsed five. Since 1988, 31 Cornell students have won Udall scholarships, and eight have received honorable mentions, Fiori said.

Original Author: Cindy Huynh