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Elizabeth Esser Named Udall Scholar


Elizabeth Esser was among 55 undergraduates selected from across the nation and U.S. territories for the Udall Scholarship, which is awarded to sophomores and juniors on the basis of their commitment to careers in the environment, Native health care or Tribal public policy. The scholarship provides up to $7,000 for eligible academic expenses.

Esser aims to increase the ways in which genetics is applied to conservation efforts, focusing on genetic techniques to help endangered species and mitigate the effects of invasive species. Following a year of conservation work in a national park, she plans to pursue a Ph.D. in genetics.

Three of the four research projects Esser has participated in have direct connections to the environment. She assessed a newly developed protocol for genetic manipulation with Douglas Menke, associate professor and director of the Developmental Biology Alliance; helped genotype Kinorynches in Norwegian fjords while visiting Norway; and created a more accurate model of oceanic larval dispersal with Jeb Byers, Meigs Distinguished Teaching Professor of Ecology. She also assisted in creating a prioritization system for molecular testing in zoos.

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