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Worm-loving MSU sophomore nominated for Udall Scholarship

Elizabeth Brajevich, a self-described worm lover and double-major sophomore at Michigan State University, has been nominated for the Udall Scholarship.

The Udall Foundation honors Morris K. Udall’s legacy of public service by encouraging the continued use, enjoyment, and exploration of our nation’s natural resources, by training professionals in environmental issues, and by training Native Americans in health care and tribal public policy. The Foundation awards up to $5,000 for educational expenses to outstanding students.

Brajevich is originally from Los Angeles, California, and graduated from Beverly Hills High School. At Michigan State, she’s in the Honors College and is majoring in fisheries and wildlife and environmental economics and policy in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources.

Twenty schools in Los Angeles, three community centers in Lansing and the campus of MSU have all been touched by Brajevich’s love of composting and the worms she uses to reduce food waste.

Brajevich took the lead and applied for a grant to get the first-ever vermicomposting outreach system in the MSU Bailey hoophouse, leading a small team that composts food scraps from the Brody Cafeteria. Last fall, she presented her work at the Tokyo University of Agriculture.

“I aspire to shape my generation’s environmental movement through my commitment to comprehensive protection,” Brajevich said. “I will put to use my knowledge of ecosystems and organisms, people and policies, to address the complex interconnected problems in current agricultural production, soil quality and environmental degradation.”

She’s held several positions in the Fisheries and Wildlife Club, and has interned at the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation in Washington, D.C.

Brajevich has also participated in undergraduate research through the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources by studying the decision making process for Michigan dam removals, and presenting her work at the University Undergraduate Research and Arts Forum.

She’s the recipient of an Honors College National Scholarship, the Lewis W. Kaminga Alumni Scholar Award, Ralph and Patricia Hepp Environmental Economics and Policy Scholarship, John Cherney Humanitarian Award, and is a Demmer Scholar.

Brajevich is also a member of several Honors College student groups: MOSAICFirst Year Council, Honors Students Actively Recruiting (H-STAR), and Honors Times Two. She’s also a RISE student mentor (Residential Initiative on the Study of the Environment).

She plans to pursue a master’s degree in public policy or environmental policy.

“Elizabeth is devoted to improving our environment, as witnessed by her projects in her home state of California, and here at Michigan State University,” said Cynthia Jackson-Elmoore, dean of the MSU Honors College. “We’re proud to nominate Elizabeth for the Udall Scholarship and wish her the best in her endeavors.”

MSU has previously produced nine Udall Scholars.

The National and International Fellowship and Scholarship (NIFS) Office at Michigan State University, administered by the Honors College, helps interested undergraduate and graduate students to pursue major national and international opportunities by providing information and direct support throughout the competitive application processes. The Honors College serves academically talented, committed students who wish to pursue and achieve academic excellence. The Honors College strives to ensure an enriched academic and social experience for our members and create an environment that fosters active, innovative learning.

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