Wildlife conservation major Deirdre Conroy received a 2018 Udall Scholarship from the Morris K. Udall and Stewart L. Udall Foundation. Recipients are selected on the basis of commitment to careers in the environment, health care, or tribal public policy; leadership potential; and academic achievement. Conroy is one of 50 recipients from 42 colleges, and the only one from Virginia Tech.

Conroy has made research an integral part of her undergraduate experience, engaging in a range of projects since her freshman year. During fall 2018, she attended the Grand Canyon Semester program through Northern Arizona University, where she learned about the interactions between land managers, Native American tribes, and the public in the Southwest. She plans to pursue graduate study to investigate the socioeconomic factors that affect conservation in non-Western societies.

“We can’t do meaningful science if we ignore the human component. The conservation field is a global network that includes and affects people from different countries, origins, and backgrounds. You have to have a good understanding of ecology, policy, and socioeconomic issues in order to develop effective wildlife management programs,” she explained.