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Grace Johnson

Grace Johnson

2020 Udall Scholar


Guyman, OK


Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences


College of Agriculture


Grace Johnson has been named a Udall Scholar in recognition of her commitment to leadership and research related to ecological resources and green initiatives.


Johnson’s interest in environmental issues has a strong personal connection. “After the worst drought since the Dust Bowl hit my rural farming community in the Oklahoma Panhandle in 2011, researchers learned that the Ogallala Aquifer would be empty in fifty years, causing my hometown, other Midwestern communities, and one-fifth of the nation’s agricultural production to disappear along with it,” Johnson says. “Throughout my education and professional career, I aim to advance state-level legislation regarding groundwater preservation and allocation. I also plan to support communities in the High Plains with access to tools that allow the implementation of less water-intensive practices, particularly in the agricultural sector.”


Johnson’s ambitions do not end with water conservation, however. She served in an internship with the United States Senate, and with the United States Green Building Council. During the latter internship, she decoded complex state codes and building guidelines to prepare a document for legislators detailing the state of policy related to building “green” schools. Her efforts to advocate for environmental sustainability have included roles on the Purdue Student Sustainability Council, the Honors Leadership Council Executive Board, and serving as an Agriculture Ambassador. In one example of her leadership with the Purdue Student Sustainability Council, she helped plan a town-hall discussion regarding the city of West Lafayette’s intent to become carbon-neutral by 2030, developing ideas for implementation in the next five years.