WSU Junior Alyssa Norris Recognized by National Udall Foundation for 2017-18

MEDIA: April Seehafer, Director of the Distinguished Scholarships Program, WSU Undergraduate Education, 509-335-8239,

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PULLMAN, Wash.—Washington State University junior and Alaska native Alyssa Norris has received a nationally competitive Udall Foundation honorable mention award in its environment category, said April Seehafer, director of the Distinguished Scholarships Program, part of WSU Undergraduate Education.

“The Udall nod validates Alyssa’s commitment to the environment and her work toward a career addressing issues on a local, national, and global scale,” said Seehafer. “Alyssa’s personal and professional accomplishments as a WSU student have prepared her very well for this latest and well-deserved honor.”

Aligned with Career Goals

A civil engineering major from North Pole, Alaska, Norris has studied, pursued projects and initiatives, and won awards and an internship related to the environment. She intends to further seek a master’s/juris doctor joint degree emphasizing environmental resources.

Her goal is to be a political leader who will draft public policies and legislation encouraging clean and renewable energy while protecting the environment and people who live in rural communities. She aspires to be the Alaska policy manager for the Dept. of Energy and eventually the state’s lieutenant governor. She said she will serve as a liaison between local governments, energy companies, and constituents to ensure that energy is environmentally responsible, affordable, and reliable.

Udall is Motivating

“I am committed to helping solve the energy issues we face, and being recognized by the Udall Foundation just motivates me to keep working harder,” said Norris. “I am excited to be a member of the Udall network and continue working to solve environmental challenges.

“This summer I plan on going home and sharing my passion and experience with Alaskan students through the STEM-Enrichment Alaska program.”

Norris has been acknowledged often for her passion and hard work. She was recently a finalist for another national, distinguished award, the Harry S. Truman Scholarship. As a freshman, she received a Fulbright U.S.-U.K. Undergraduate Exchange Award for summer study at the University of Bristol in England. She has also been a Mount Vernon Leadership Fellow and a U.S. Dept. of Energy (DOE) Education Scholar, and won the Western Region Energy Co-op Award for leadership.

She served as president of the local chapter of the Society of Women Engineers; senator and officer for the Associated Students of WSU (ASWSU); president of the Startup WSU entrepreneurship club; design coordinator of a concrete canoe competition team of the American Society of Civil Engineers; and member of several environment and engineering groups. She worked on WSU’s solar decathlon project. For the DOE, she measured the effects of renewable energy distribution through the U.S.; her investigation was published as an internal white paper and referenced in the second edition of the DOE “Quadrennial Energy Review.”

WSU’s First Udall Engineer

Norris’s latest award is WSU’s fourth Udall; she is the second student to receive an honorable mention in the environmental category. She is WSU’s first engineering major to land a Udall.

For 2017, the foundation reported it awarded 50 scholarships to college sophomores and juniors from 42 colleges for leadership, public service, and commitment to issues related to Native American nations or to the environment. It also awarded 50 honorable mentions.