University of Oklahoma honors student Maya B. Henderson has been named a 2019 Udall Scholar. The Udall recognizes undergraduate students who demonstrate a commitment to careers related to the environment or to Native American public policy or health care.
From Norman, Oklahoma, Henderson is a junior pursuing a bachelor’s degree in environmental sustainability in the OU College of Atmospheric and Geographic Sciences with a special interest in studying urban environmental concerns in order to develop plans for green urban development. Her recent research activity, funded by the Department of Geography and Environmental Sustainability, focuses on public perceptions of sustainability and green initiatives. In 2018, Henderson’s research led her to co-author an article in The Southern Climate Monitor, along with Professors Angela Person and Randy Peppler, the newsletter published by the Southern Climate Impacts Planning Program. She also has been named to both the Dean’s and President’s Honors Rolls at OU.
Her career goal is to create viable frameworks for green city development after earning a Ph.D. in geography. She is a citizen of the Seneca-Cayuga Nation.
Henderson’s leadership experience includes president of the Geography and Environmental Sustainability Club and the vice chair of the Liaison Committee for OU’s Green Week event. She also is an active volunteer with Norman’s Art Walk Recycling Pick Up group, and volunteers with the American Indian Studies Association. Henderson also serves on the cultural committee of Gamma Delta Pi, the American Indian Sorority.
The national scholarship competition is conducted by the Morris K. Udall Foundation, which was authorized by Congress in 1992 to honor the late congressman from Arizona who promoted environmental issues and worked to strengthen Native American tribal self-governance. Chief among the legislation he authored was the Alaska Lands Act of 1980. This year, the Udall Foundation awarded $7,000 scholarships to 50 students nationwide for the cost of tuition, fees, books, and room and board. The Udall Scholarship was first awarded in 1996.