Auburn University senior receives Udall Scholarship for Excellence in National Environmental Policy

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Arthur "Joe" Jenkins, a senior from Madison, Alabama, with majors in zoology and mechanical engineering, has been awarded a 2015 Morris K. and Stewart L. Udall Scholarship for Excellence in National Environmental Policy – one of 48 Udall Scholarships awarded nationwide and the only recipient from the State of Alabama.

Udall Scholars are selected on the basis of commitment to careers in the environment, leadership potential and academic achievement. Jenkins has devoted his personal and professional life to becoming a leader in combating environmental crises in Alabama. For the past two years, he has conducted year-round funded research for the Alabama Natural Heritage Program at Auburn University and the U.S. Forest Service on two of Alabama's endemic and endangered species, the flattened musk turtle (Sternotherus depressus) and the black warrior waterdog (Necturus alabamenis) in the Bankhead National Forest.

Jenkins' research, under the direction of James Godwin at the Alabama Natural Heritage Program and Craig Guyer in the College of Sciences and Mathematics' Department of Biological Sciences, is the most extensive study to date on the flattened musk turtle, and his results will play a key role in updating conservation plans for the two species.

According to Janice Barrett, outreach coordinator of Wild South, "Joe is completely and whole-heartedly engaged in environmental protection. He has shown maturity, unwavering leadership, dedication, intelligence and skill in all the ways he has engaged with Wild South and it's always a pleasure to work with him. This world is becoming a better place because of Joseph's commitment to conservation and the sharing of his knowledge and passion."

"It is an absolute honor to be recognized for my work with such a distinguished award," Jenkins said. "Everyone in Dr. Guyer's lab has been incredibly welcoming and an invaluable resource over the past three years, and I am immensely thankful to James Godwin for providing me with the opportunity to work with these amazing creatures. I am also grateful to Dr. Paul Harris in the Honors College for encouraging me to apply for this award and for supporting me throughout the arduous application process."

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