University of Richmond Student Researcher and Environmental Health Advocate Selected for Competitive Luce Scholar Program

Senior Elspeth Collard is 2nd UR Student, One of 18 to Receive Prestigious Fellowship
February 9, 2023

UNIVERSITY OF RICHMOND — Elspeth Collard, a University of Richmond senior from Alexandria, Virginia, has been selected as a recipient of the prestigious Luce Scholars Program. This nationally competitive fellowship is awarded annually to 18 graduating seniors and young alumni nationwide. Collard is UR’s second Luce Scholar.

The Luce Scholars Program focuses on enhancing the understanding of Asia. The program provides stipends, language training, and professional placement.

Collard, a Richmond scholar who has studied abroad in Germany, Kenya, and Peru, is majoring in interdisciplinary studies with a focus on environmental health. Her academic pursuits have centered on the intersection of environmental studies and public health with a focus on populations disproportionately impacted by issues in these fields.

Under the mentorship of geography professor David Salisbury, Collard has used geospatial technologies to analyze and address environmental and development challenges across the Amazon, including the impacts of road proposals across a region. She has also studied the impact of COVID-19 on Indigenous communities.

“Having studied both environmental and public health-related topics in the Amazon, I began seeing connections between the environmental issues Indigenous peoples face, such as deforestation, fires, and mining, and the public health problems they experience, such as air pollution, contaminated water, and disease spread,” said Collard. “These are injustices I wanted to help right, and this Luce award is my next step in learning more about how I can make a difference.”

“Elspeth is a wonderful example of a student who excels not only inside the structured classroom but is also constantly looking for opportunities outside of their coursework to go deeper into the topics they are passionate about,” said Salisbury. “Elspeth’s positivity, risk taking, and hard work, and her ability to take full advantage of the University of Richmond’s opportunities, have led to her success in the environmental health field.”

“The opportunity to spend a year developing as a researcher abroad will have a lasting impact on Collard’s future,” said Dana Kuchem, director of the Office of Scholars and Fellowships. “Luce scholars are engaged in the world, and this opportunity focuses on building mutual understanding through an immersive experience.”

Following completion of her Luce fellowship, Collard plans to pursue a graduate degree in environmental health.