Bryce Cracknell, a Duke University junior, has received the Morris K. Udall Scholarship, which recognizes students who have demonstrated a commitment to careers in the environment or Native American tribal public policy or health care.
Scholars must also demonstrate leadership potential and academic achievement. Sixty students were selected this year from a pool of 429 candidates.
"I would like to work with low-income communities to develop solutions to economic, social and environmental issues that allow for environmental injustices," Cracknell said. “I believe that every person has a right to clean air and water, wildlands and oceans with abundant biodiversity, and environmental justice. Far too often this right is denied to marginalized communities due to their race and/or socioeconomic status.”
Cracknell, who is from Charlotte, North Carolina, is Duke's first Udall scholar since 2011. Each scholarship provides up to $7,000 during the scholar's junior or senior year. The 2017 Udall Scholars will assemble Aug. 8-13 in Tucson, Arizona, to receive their awards and meet policymakers and community leaders.
Cracknell is pursuing a degree in public policy with a concentration in race and poverty, and a minor in environmental science and policy. He said he hopes to "build a more inclusive environmental movement for minority and low-income communities by providing opportunities toward long-term social and environmental sustainability."
Cracknell is currently participating in the “De-Constructing/Re-Constructing the Refugee Experience DukeImmerse” program with Duke’s Kenan Institute for Ethics. He spent last semester studying ecology and conservation in South Africa with the Organization for Tropical Studies. He also participated in DukeEngage in Thailand.
In addition, he serves as the student leader to the environmental justice partnership with the Alabama Center for Rural Enterprise and Duke Human Rights Center at the Franklin Humanities Institute. This summer he will intern with the Southern Environmental Law Center and North Carolina Environmental Justice Network.
Next year, Cracknell will serve as the incoming president of the Black Men’s Union and as an executive board member of Students with Interracial Legacies, which he also co-founded. He was a co-chair for the Black Student Alliance Invitational 2016 and was an adviser to Trinity Arts & Sciences Dean Valerie Ashby as part of the Trinity Student Diversity Advisory Council.
“Bryce is and will be an intellectual leader and change agent not only in his community but also nationally and globally on issues of the environment and human rights,” Ashby said.
Additionally, Duke sophomores Shandiin Herrera and Claire Wang were named honorable mentions for the Udall Scholarship.
For more information on the Udall Scholarship, visit www.udall.gov.