Commitment to Environment and Community Earns Donti Udall Award

April 29, 2014

A career that involves both environmental sustainability and community engagement appeals to Priya Donti ’15. Her dedication to achieving that goal has earned the attention of the Morris K. Udall and Stewart L. Udall Foundation, which seeks students like Donti who show passion for careers committed to the environment.

Donti, a joint computer science/mathematics major with an emphasis in environmental analysis, received a Udall Foundation Honorable Mention, the first such award for a Harvey Mudd College student.

A volunteer with the club Mudders Making a Difference, Donti is a teacher and lesson writer for Science Bus, a program that brings hands-on science lessons to elementary school students.

“My favorite part of community engagement is that it allows me to give back and create opportunities for others in the same way that opportunities for success have been given to me,” says Donti.

Donti’s research work with computer science Professor Elizabeth Sweedyk included a community engagement component. Funded by a National Science Foundation grant, the Games Network project challenged Harvey Mudd students to develop educational games based upon learning objectives set by real-world customers: middle-school social studies teachers.

Donti and Jake Dittes ’15 are co-presidents of the student environmental club Engineers for a Sustainable World/Mudders Organizing for Sustainability Solutions (ESW/MOSS), which has several projects under way, including a composting plan for the College’s dining hall and a red cup recycling program. Two of their major projects on campus are establishing electrical vehicle charging stations and creating a fund that would support sustainable campus improvements. Donti and club members plan to present the Green Fund proposal to the board of trustees during the fall.

Donti intends to pursue a Ph.D. in order to do environmental computer science research, either at a university as a research professor or at an environmentally focused company. She is most passionate about addressing global warming and the energy crisis.

Established by Congress in 1992 to honor Morris K. Udall’s 30 years of service in the House of Representatives, and enhanced by Congressional action in 2009 to honor Stewart L. Udall’s vast public service, the Morris K. Udall and Stewart L. Udall Foundation is dedicated to educating a new generation of Americans to preserve and protect their national heritage through scholarship, fellowship and internship programs focused on environmental and Native American issues. The Udall Foundation is also committed to promoting the principles and practices of environmental conflict resolution.