Udall Undergraduate Scholarship
Meet Our Scholars - Alumni Spotlights - Jennifer Peyser VanHooreweghe
When my parents visited this spring, they brought several boxes of mementos that they were tired of keeping in their garage.
The first box I opened was a funny assortment of photos, an announcement about the threats of “Y2K”, and a copy of my Udall
Having just returned from a week in Tucson as a reader on the Udall Scholar selection committee, I read it on high alert for
naïveté and well-worn statements. After a page-and-a-half and despite a couple of cringes, I smiled at the idealistic writer
who underscored the importance of seeing environmental conflict as an opportunity for environmental solutions. Although I had
no idea at the time what I wanted to be when I grew up, this essay captured a major theme of the 15 years of education and
career that have followed.
Most of my career has been with RESOLVE, an independent NGO that helps government, industry, and civil society build collaborative
solutions to tough environmental, health, and social issues. I’ve worked on everything from wind energy to drinking water, to
illegal fishing, to food safety. One current project is the Public-Private Alliance for Responsible Minerals Trade. I manage and
facilitate this diverse group of companies, government, and NGOs working to end violence and conflict in the minerals trade in
Central Africa. This work has been interesting and important to me because I’ve seen relationships built over five years of challenging
but constructive discussions and projects—and I have seen a correlation between the strength of these relationships and positive,
The Udall Foundation has been an important thread throughout my career. At the 1999 Scholar Orientation, I first learned about my
future profession from a speaker from the U.S. Institute for Environmental Conflict Resolution, a program of the Udall Foundation.
In 2009, I was accepted as a member of the National Roster of Environmental Conflict Resolution Professionals, managed by the U.S.
Institute. In 2013, I joined the facilitation team for one of the U.S. Institute’s projects, the Missouri River Recovery Implementation
Committee. And as part of the scholarship selection committee, I’ve read hundreds of applications, so many of which demonstrate an
idealism that I know will evolve but will remain as a spark to inspire some amazing environmental work.
So, if you are thinking about applying for the Udall Scholarship, I recommend it; just try not to write things like, “Though spoken
decades ago, Mo’s/Stewart’s words still apply today…” And if you have applied, I recommend hanging on to that essay to help remind
you why and how you wanted to be like the Udalls when you grew up.