Junior Sarah Huang is a recipient of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Greater Research Opportunities (GRO) Fellowship. The $48,900 award recognizes Huang’s commitment to meet the country’s environmental challenges by eventually pursuing a career in an environmental field and continuing her education beyond the undergraduate level. Huang, an Environmental Studies and Sociology double major from Waterford, Conn., is the fifth Ursinus student to win the scholarship and is one of only 38 other Fellows from college and universities across the country to be honored this year.
“Sarah is the type of student that seeks challenges,” says Richard Wallace, Professor and Chair of the Environmental Studies Department, “whether it is in her honors work or through an internship. She thinks both deeply and clearly about her education and in everything she does. The scholarship is so well deserved.”
The award will go toward her education, as well as travel and living expenses for a paid summer internship at one of the EPA’s laboratories, regional offices, or headquarters programs in the United States.
“I hope to work in the environmental justice department of the EPA this summer,” says Huang. “I could do both field work and office work with them — whatever I can do to make a difference.”
While at Ursinus, Huang has worked as an UCGreen Sustainability Fellow on a national campaign called Take Back the Tap. The program encourages colleges across the country to promote tap water over bottled water on their campuses because of the expense, waste and mountains of garbage bottled water creates.
Through the Take Back the Tap program, Huang, a cross country runner at Ursinus, is holding an educational event at the Dec. 1 track meet where she and a group of volunteers will be encouraging attendees to dispose of their plastic water bottles in a giant water bottle over six-feet high. Huang is also working with dining services and the athletic trainers to raise awareness and change behavior around water bottles.
“Sarah brought the program to us and has been dedicated to educating the campus about the benefits of tap water over bottled water,” says Shannon Spencer, Climate Action Manager of the UCGreen Office of Sustainability. “She is dedicated and thoughtful in her work. We are very lucky to have her.”
Huang hopes to serve with the nationwide program FoodCorps after graduation, where she’ll help teach children about healthy food and where it originates.
“It’s a really awesome program,” she says. “They help build and tend school gardens as well as bring quality local food into school cafeterias. You can really teach children things that they can carry with them their entire lives.”