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Stephen Kelly

How did you learn about the Udall Scholarship? Why did you decide to apply?

I learned about the Udall Scholarship through my Introduction to Environmental Policy Class when the Director of the National & International Scholarships Office came to talk to us. I decided to apply because I did and still do strive to be an environmental leader, and I wanted to put myself out there to compete for this prestigious scholarship. I also saw it as a good personal development challenge and a springboard to success in building a good resume for my career goals.

What advice can you give to Purdue students who are considering applying for the Udall Scholarship?

My main advice in a few words is simple: challenge and demand more of yourself. By this I mean that you should not limit yourself by applying for only those scholarships that you think you have the best chance of getting. You should apply for the most challenging scholarships because these, regardless of if you win them, will teach you a lot about yourself and help you define your career goals and values. Specifically, for the Udall, get as involved as you can in student organizations, professional organizations, design teams, etc. while always valuing quality over quantity. Do not be afraid of leadership roles because there is only one way to learn how to be a leader. Just because you have a leadership position does not mean you should stop learning. To win this scholarship, you must show that you have challenged yourself to be an environmental leader, have followed through on your initiatives, and have generated a stimulating plan to fulfill your environmental career goals.

How did you get involved in activities related to your interest in the environment?

I knew that I valued environmental initiatives since high school; therefore, I sought out Boiler Green Initiative at the Boiler Gold Rush Activities Fair. Then once I got settled in my classes and met professors, I began to seek out research opportunities, professional organizations, and design teams.

What are your career plans?

I will work full-time for ExxonMobil Environmental Services starting in July 2012 after obtaining my Bachelors in Engineering in May 2012. This exciting opportunity will allow me to be a part of large-scale environmental projects with a globally respected company.