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Faith Ireland's Commitment to Environment Earns Her Udall Scholarship

Faith Ireland in front of Old Main. Faith Ireland has been awarded the prestigious Udall Scholarship.

VERMILLION, S.D. – Faith Ireland, a second-year sustainability major at the University of South Dakota, has been selected as a 2019 Udall Scholar by the Udall Foundation. 

Ireland, a Rapid City native, is also in the USD School of Law's 3 + 3 fast track program, which allows eligible undergraduate students to begin law school in their senior year. After graduating from law school, Ireland plans to specialize in environmental law. 

At USD, Ireland has demonstrated her commitment to sustainability and environmental stewardship through actions such as authoring a resolution as an at-large Student Government Association representative to replace plastic straws on campus with biodegradable versions. This year, she was also a member of one of the two teams to advance to regional competition in the international Hult Prize contest, which challenges teams to produce a for-profit enterprise to solve one of the world’s most pressing challenges. Last summer, she interned at Bangs McCullen Law Firm in Rapid City and explored environmental issues from a policy and legal perspective. Ireland is also an active member of the USD Sustainability Club. 

“Environmental law is a huge passion of mine, and I want to work to keep the national parks and national forest systems from unsustainable activities,” Ireland said.

She looks forward to attending the five-day scholar orientation in Tucson, where she will work with other Udall Scholarship recipients on a case study and meet Udall alumni and other professionals working on environmental and tribal issues.

This year, the Udall Foundation selected 55 students as Udall Scholars from 443 applicants. The foundation selects scholarship recipients based on their commitment to careers in the environment, American Indian health care or tribal public policy, leadership potential, record of public service and academic achievement. Each scholarship provides up to $7,000 and is awarded in the scholar’s sophomore or junior year.


USD's College of Arts & Sciences offers students a top-notch undergraduate liberal arts education in the humanities, social sciences and sciences as well as graduate programs that have earned USD distinction as a research university by the Carnegie Foundation. The college's more than 22,000 alumni include famous journalists, Hollywood screenwriters, novelists, a Nobel Prize winner, South Dakota governors, attorneys, physicians, justices of the state Supreme Court, distinguished university faculty and international humanitarians.


Founded in 1862 and the first university in the Dakotas, the University of South Dakota is the only public liberal arts university in the state, with 202 undergraduate and 84 graduate programs in the College of Arts & Sciences, School of Education, Knudson School of Law, Sanford School of Medicine, School of Health Sciences, Beacom School of Business and College of Fine Arts. With an enrollment of nearly 10,000 students and more than 400 faculty, USD has a 16:1 student/faculty ratio, and it ranks among the best in academics and affordability. USD’s 18 athletic programs compete at the NCAA Division I level.


Hanna DeLange
USD News