MACON – Mercer University senior Michelle Graham was recently selected as an Honorable Mention for the Udall Undergraduate Scholarship for leadership, public service and commitment to issues related to Native American nations or to the environment. She is the first Mercer student to receive recognition from this highly selective national scholarship program.
Graham, from Tampa, Florida, is majoring in environmental engineering with a minor in engineering for development.
“The Udall Foundation is devoted to environmental conservation and protection of American Indian people through leadership, service and policy, and it is an honor to be recognized by such an incredible organization,” said Graham. “I would not have had this opportunity without the support of my advisers and mentors here at Mercer, Dr. Michael MacCarthy, Dr. Laura Lackey and Dr. David Davis. I would also like to extend my gratitude to Dr. Adam Daigneault at the University of Maine. Throughout my time as an undergraduate student, these mentors have provided me with endless guidance and inspiration and have fueled my passion for sustainable development. My Honorable Mention is a result of their and Mercer’s investment in me as a student, researcher and environmentalist.”
At Mercer, Graham conducts research in the lab of Dr. MacCarthy, assistant professor and director of the engineering for development program, involving efficient building design and energy use to create affordable renewable energy options for middle- to low-income homeowners. This work involves the implementation and investigation of a low-cost solar photovoltaic starter kit that can be installed on the home by a homeowner or local technician and later expanded to produce more energy. The research team is collaborating with Macon Area Habitat for Humanity to install and monitor one of these systems this spring.
She plans to obtain a Ph.D. in environmental engineering and teach at a major university while conducting research related to sustainable infrastructure.
“I am delighted that Michelle has received this well-deserved recognition from the Udall Foundation,” said Dr. MacCarthy. “She is an outstanding, dedicated student who is passionate about improving environmental and socioeconomic conditions for underserved communities. Michelle has thrived in her roles in engineering for development service and research at Mercer. This includes her valuable contributions as the student lead for Mercer’s collaboration with Macon Area Habitat for Humanity that focuses on the design and implementation of low-cost household solar photovoltaic energy solutions.”
Graham is a Goldwater Scholar, Hollings Scholar, Stamps Scholar and member of the School of Engineering Honors Program and Society of Women Engineers.
The Udall Foundation awarded 55 scholarships of $7,000 each to college sophomores and juniors in 2020, and an additional 55 Honorable Mentions were selected. The scholarship honors the legacies of Morris Udall and Stewart Udall, whose careers had a significant impact on Native American self-governance, health care and the stewardship of public lands and natural resources.
About the School of Engineering
Mercer University’s School of Engineering, founded in 1985, offers innovative and academically challenging programs that provide students with a comprehensive education, featuring a solid foundation in mathematics and sciences, a core engineering curriculum, a range of courses in engineering specialties and a strong emphasis on communication technologies. The School is consistently ranked by U.S. News and World Report as one of the top three master’s-degree-level engineering schools in the Southeast. Known for its breadth of instruction in its undergraduate program and its five-year joint bachelor’s and master’s degree program, the School combines technical education with hands-on laboratory experience. Mercer engineers can look forward to joining fellow alumni in companies such as Robins Air Force Base, Mercer Engineering Research Center, Northrop Grumman, Georgia Power, Manhattan Associates and Gulfstream Aerospace.