Carnegie Mellon Sophomore Dyanna Becker Wins Morris K. Udall Scholarship
April 22, 2009
Contact: Chriss Swaney
Carnegie Mellon University
"I was extremely gratified to receive such an honor as I continue to pursue my educational goals of making a difference in the way the world perceives the environment," said Becker, a civil and environmental engineering and engineering and public policy major at Carnegie Mellon.
Becker, 19, is developing a special computational tool to calculate the environmental, social and economic benefits of biofuel from jatropha. Jatropha is a small plant used in many east African villages to fuel cooking stoves and provide energy for electricity.
"Dyanna's ultimate goal is to make a difference by using her engineering background to help make the environment a safer and more efficient place to work and live," said Civil and Environmental Engineering Professor Cliff Davidson, who helped Becker apply for the Udall scholarship. "I am so pleased that she is a winner, and I know her academic career will continue to mature as she tackles more projects," said Davidson, director of the university's Center for Sustainable Engineering.
Tireless in challenging her peers to find leading-edge environmental solutions, Becker is active in the university's sustainability club. Next year she plans to help coordinate the university-wide environmental awareness program called "Focus the Nation."
"I've always enjoyed building things and working to solve problems," said Becker of Niwot, Colo., a town 10 miles north of Boulder. "My ultimate goal is to help improve this nation's transportation system from trains to more streamlined bus systems," she said.
The Udall Scholarship honors college sophomores and juniors with outstanding potential who are committed to pursuing careers related to the environment, as well as Native American and Alaskan native students with outstanding potential and a commitment to careers related to tribal policy or health care. The Morris K. Udall Foundation was established in 1992 to honor Udall's 30 years of service in the House of Representatives. Becker will travel Aug. 5-9 to Tucson, Ariz., to meet this year's Udall scholarship recipients.