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USC's Lesley Joseph Wins Udall Scholarship

April 8, 2010

CONTACT: Jan P. Smoak, Associate Director, Fellowships and Scholar Programs University of South Carolina, (803) 777-0958

Lesley Joseph has been awarded a 2010 Udall Scholarship, the ninth USC student to win the scholarship since 1999, but USC’s eleventh win in the competition. Two former University Udall Scholars won the award twice, as sophomores and juniors. Joseph’s Udall Scholarship was awarded in the environmental careers category.

The award recognizes and encourages students who have demonstrated outstanding potential and a commitment to pursuing careers related to the environment. The Foundation funded 80 awards from 63 colleges and universities. The 80 were selected from the 537 candidates who were nominated from 256 colleges and universities. Like Joseph, 70 of the scholars intend to pursue careers related to the environment. The Morris K. Udall and Stewart L. Udall Foundation also funds Native American and Alaskan Native applicants interested in careers related to healthcare and tribal policy – another 10 students in these categories were awarded scholarships.

From Rock Hill, SC, Joseph is a junior majoring in Civil and Environmental Engineering with a minor in Environmental Studies. He is an active environmental advocate having received the Environmental Stewardship Award, the Bruce C. Coull Outstanding Senior in Environmental Studies award and the Outstanding Senior in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. Joseph serves as the coordinator and manager of the Environmental Justice/Community Action project in the Green Quad Learning Center and is the president of a newly formed student chapter of Engineers without Borders. He is active in the SC Alliance for Sustainable Campuses, Students Advocating for a Greener Environment, the Green Quad Learning Community, American Society of Civil Engineers and National Society of Black Engineers. He was also a participant in the South Carolina Alliance for Minority Participation (SCAMP) Research program.

Joseph has conducted research at USC in several areas: water treatment research on emerging contaminants with Dr. Yoon in the Environmental Engineering laboratories; environmental justice and climate change vulnerability research under Dr. Sacoby Wilson (Udall Scholar 1998) in the Institute for Families in Society, and research with the Gills Creek Watershed Research Initiative. As part of the residential mini-grant program in the Office of Undergraduate Research, he was the co-investigator for the research project, “Letting the Garden Speak: Creating an Educational Organic Garden for USC” with Dr. David Whiteman, a professor in Political Science. As a Magellan Scholar, he was the principal investigator for the research project, “How will Sustainability Lower the Negative Effects of Climate Change for African-Americans,” under the direction of Dr. Sacoby Wilson. His future plans include obtaining a Ph.D. in Environmental Engineering and conducting research related to contaminant removal in drinking water and development of water treatment technologies for underserved communities in the United States and developing countries around the world.

“Winning the Udall Scholarship is a great honor for me,” said Joseph. “This is the first national scholarship that I’ve ever won, so everything is still new to me. I had great support from the Office of Fellowships and Scholar Programs, the Udall Scholarship committee, and the Environmental Engineering faculty at USC. I could not have been successful without their continued support. I just hope to continue doing the type of work and research that will help improve our environment and the lives of many people in the U.S. and abroad who are increasingly vulnerable to changes in the environment. I think Congressman Udall would like that.”

The Udall Scholars were selected on the basis of academic merit and were nominated by colleges and universities nationwide. The one-year scholarship will cover the cost of tuition, fees, books, and room and board up to a maximum of $5,000 per year. For more information, the foundation website is

Students are nominated and assisted by the campus Udall Scholarship Committee chaired by Josh Eagle of the USC School of Law. Members of the committee include Claudia Benitez-Nelson (Earth & Ocean Sciences), Greg Carbone (Geography), Kevin Elliott (Philosophy), James Morris (Baruch Institute), and Sacoby Wilson (Institute for Families in Society). The students were further assisted by the USC Office of Fellowships and Scholar Programs,

Please send releases to the Rock Hill Herald, Charlotte Observer, and The State. He is a graduate of Northwestern High School and is the son of Phebe and Samuel Joseph.

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