UW-Eau Claire geography student awarded EPA fellowship

EPA fellowship sets up UW-Eau Claire junior Emily Moothart with summer internship, research opportunities

UW-Eau Claire geography student awarded EPA fellowship


Story by Trent Tetzlaff, Copy Editor

UW-Eau Claire Junior Emily Moothart, an environmental geography major, was chosen as one of 33 Environmental Protection Agency GRO fellows March 31.

Two Eau Claire students have earned lauded science and math scholarships — a Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Rhodes Scholarship — since last fall.

GRO fellowships are awarded to junior undergraduate students nationwide. Moothart will earn $8,600 during her summer internship, which she said will fund her final years of college and free her to spend more time researching.

Moothart said she was shocked when she received the email offering her the fellowship. She didn’t know much about the program before her advisor Dr. Garry Running told her to apply.

“Its crazy how it all happened just because I received an email and decided to try applying for it,” Moothart said. “I never thought I would be one of those people, and now doors are just being opened for me everywhere because of this.”

She said the application process, though, was hefty.

Moothart said the application ran about 30 pages and required multiple references, a research proposal and included many small steps along the way.

“I think when I finished the application I looked back and saw the finished application was about 30 pages,” she said chuckling. “Even though it took me awhile, I knew that it would be worth it because of what it could do for me.”

Running, a professor of geography and anthropology, said he thinks Moothart is perfect for the fellowship because of the number of diverse skills she brings to the table.

“First of all, overall Emily is just an impressive student and has a heck of a resume of environmental work,” he said. “She has good research and communication skills but also has strong geospatial technological skills, which is what they look for.”

Moothart said to gain the EPA’s attention she’d need a strong research proposal. She pitched a plan to study irrigated agricultural fields and the runoff they produce around the Chippewa River, which can produce contamination.

After winning the fellowship, Moothart said she’ll continue her research on runoff, but come summertime will travel to Colorado for her internship at EPA headquarters.

“Over the summer I will be traveling to abandoned mine sites in Colorado and studying them for contamination,” Moothart said. “Ideally if that goes well for me it will hopefully set me up well for future employment with the EPA and beyond.”

Running said the Moothart’s fellowship, with other prestigious awards to Eau Claire students, show strength in campus departments.

“There really is something about the caliber of students and the departments here,” Running said. “It just shows how ambitious the students and educators are as they keep going for new things.”