At the Annual Meeting of the Arizona Section of the Society for Range Management in Tucson, AZ on 09 January 2014, the recipients of the Section’s Outstanding Undergraduate Student Scholarship and the Marcelle E. Schmutz Memorial Scholarship were announced.
Alanna Riggs (see picture, left) received the Outstanding Undergraduate Student Scholarship. She was born and raised on a working cattle ranch in southeastern Arizona, which is what inspired her to pursue a degree in rangeland ecology and management. She wanted to continue the family tradition and take care of the ranch. After graduating in May 2014 with a double major in Spanish and Rangeland Ecology and Management, she plans to do a bit of traveling and doing seasonal range jobs in exciting places until it is time for her generation to take over the ranch. She is currently the President of the student chapter called Tierra Seca and in that capacity was instrumental in the group raising the funds needed to attend the SRM meeting in Orlando, FL in February 2014, where they will compete in the Undergraduate Range Management Exam.
Recent graduate, Kelsey Hawkes (see picture, right) earned the S.Clark Martin Memorial Scholarship as the top finisher from Arizona placing 5th individually among 219 contestants in the Undergraduate Range Management Exam at the annual meeting in Oklahoma City, OK in 2013. Ms. Hawkes graduated from the University of Arizona in December 2012 with a degree in Rangeland Ecology and Management. She is now employed as a Rangeland Resource Area Manager with the Arizona State Land Department.
Emily Pecilunas and Eric Wagner (see pictures) were selected by the University of Arizona faculty to receive the Marcelle E. Schmutz Memorial Scholarship given in memory of Erv Schmutz’s father. Erv was a longtime faculty member in Range Management at University of Arizona. Ms. Pecilunas was born and raised in Peoria, AZ but now lives with her parents in Cary, IL. She accepted a summer 2014 internship to do restoration work for a local conservation group near Cary, IL. After graduation she hopes to join the workforce in a position involving rangeland education/extension.
Mr. Wagner was born and raised in Tucson. He has always been interested in rangeland ecosystems and the species that inhabit them. He believes that the study of rangelands is important because of its all-encompassing view of land management that intertwines academic knowledge and research with cultural traditions and livelihoods. Following completion of his degree in May 2014, he will search for either a federal job or will continue to gain experience working as a private environmental contractor. Eventually he is interested in pursuing a master degree in rangeland management or another related natural resource field. Both students are members of the University of Arizona team competing in the Undergraduate Range Management Exam at the SRM Meeting in Orlando, FL in February of 2014.