Udall Undergraduate Scholarship

Meet Our Scholars - Alumni Spotlights - Wieteke Holthuijzen

I believe that if you love something, you have a duty to protect it; but to love something, you must first understand it. This is why I chose to study environmental science.

Originally a native of Boise, Idaho, I graduated from the University of Idaho (UI) in spring 2014 with a Bachelor of Science in environmental science (biological sciences emphasis) with minors in French and wildlife resources.

From my freshman year, I worked with the UI Sustainability Center (UISC) in various roles: as a UISC Student-Led Grant Recipient; Projects Coordinator; and finally, Director. I initiated and supported projects that reduced the University's environmental footprint and increased participation and collaboration among students, faculty, staff, and community members in addressing sustainability- related issues. I spearheaded several projects: most notably, I organized the installation of water bottle refill stations on the University of Idaho campus; planned and led Sustainable Cooking Classes ("Good Eatings") for students living in various residence halls; and developed and hosted the UIdeas Symposium, an evening of inspirational and insightful presentations focused on sustainability. The accomplishment I’m most proud of was working with numerous UI faculty and staff to develop a series of campus-wide sustainable food systems, commitments that emphasize increasing purchases of locally and regionally grown and raised food (especially from student organizations) that were incorporated into the next University of Idaho Campus Dining Provider contract.

The environment, though, is not a simple thing to study, and neither are the scientists who study it! Beyond working on sustainability projects on campus, I am interested in a variety of topics such as avian ecology, biogeography, and the slow-food movement. In my summers between semesters, I spent time in Missouri, New York, and Arizona as an avian field tech and assisted on research projects ranging from long-term effects of timber harvest on avian biodiversity, to the composition and dynamics of avian dusk chorus communities. When I have time to spare, I enjoy playing my cello; creating funny art and unique jewelry; and exploring the beautiful, wild state of Idaho.