Campus: San Francisco State University -- July 13, 2005
SFSU Student Earns Morris K. Udall Scholarship For
Charlotte Ely wins award named for congressman who championed environmental
San Francisco State University senior Charlotte Ely may be soft-spoken, but
her voice rings loud and clear in the environmentalist community. Her dedication
to the environment, volunteer work and her education has earned her a $5,000
Morris K. Udall Scholarship.
Ely, a San Francisco native who lives in the Glen Park neighborhood, is the first
SFSU recipient of this award. This year, 81 scholars were selected from among 436
candidates. The Udall Foundation awards renewable, merit-based scholarships to U.S.
students, like Ely, who demonstrate outstanding commitment to the environment,
tribal public policy or health care.
"Charlotte is a passionate and caring student; she is very bright," said Barbara
Holzman, associate professor of geography and human environmental studies. "Her
passion for making change, her awareness for the uniqueness of the planet, and her
willingness to work hard made her a choice candidate and an appropriate recipient
of the Udall scholarship."
Morris K. Udall served in the House of Representatives for three decades and was
"one of the most successful and most powerful environmental congressmen in the
history of the United States," Ely said. His love for the environment resulted in
numerous pieces of legislation, chief among them the Alaska Lands Act of 1980,
which doubled the size of the national park system and tripled the country's
During the application process for the scholarship, Ely left her English tutoring
job to devote more time to such environmental-based organizations as the Sierra
Club, Green Action, ArcEcology and Organic Consumers Association.
She now interns at Presidio National Park, where she monitors rare plants and
helps restore the native habitat.
Ely, an environmentalist since childhood, plans to graduate next year with a
bachelor's degree in environmental studies. She expects to combine her knowledge
of biological and social sciences to advocate for the use of remediation waste-water
treatment, a more cost-effective and environmentally friendly way to replace water
sanitization methods used in polluted water ways and oil spills.
Remediation waste-water treatment, also known as bioremediation or phytoremediation,
uses micro-organisms, plants and mushrooms to rid water of pollutants instead of
boiling out the toxins, which disrupts the surrounding ecosystem.
"We go at a snail's pace for problems that are moving faster than we can even
begin to comprehend," Ely said, commenting on the lack of remediation funding
Ely hopes to eventually land a position within the Environmental Protection
Agency's remediation division to encourage the use of bio/phytoremediation across
Contact: Matt Itelson, (415) 338-1743; (415) 338-1665;