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Sul Ross students Lawhorn, Williams receive CDRI Scudday scholarships

June 1st, 2017 under Education
(SRSU photo by STEVE LANG) From left, Dr. Ryan Luna, Sul Ross State University assistant professor of Wildlife Management; Shirley Powell, president of the CDRI Board of Directors; Scudday Scholarship recipients Kaitlyn Williams, Aledo, and Michelle Lawhorn, Ingleside; Dr. Sean Graham, assistant professor of Biology.

(SRSU photo by STEVE LANG)
From left, Dr. Ryan Luna, Sul Ross State University assistant professor of Wildlife Management; Shirley Powell, president of the CDRI Board of Directors; Scudday Scholarship recipients Kaitlyn Williams, Aledo, and Michelle Lawhorn, Ingleside; Dr. Sean Graham, assistant professor of Biology.

Sul Ross State University graduate students Michelle Lawhorn, Ingleside; and Kaitlyn Williams, Aledo, are the 2017 recipients of graduate scholarships offered through the James F. Scudday Endowed Scholarship Fund from the Chihuahuan Desert Research Institute (CDRI).

The awards were made recently by Laferne Scudday, wife of the late Dr. James Scudday, Distinguished Professor Emeritus, and Shirley Powell, president of the CDRI Board of Directors. The $1,000 awards are offered annually to Sul Ross graduate students conducting research in the Chihuahuan Desert region, with preference given to applicants conducting research in vertebrate biology.

Lawhorn’s research will examine the habitat use of sympatric rattlesnakes in West Texas. The study will seek to confirm the lack of hybridization between the Western diamondback, Mojave and prairie rattlesnake, and to determine if they are using different habitats within the landscape. Her advisor is Dr. Sean Graham, assistant professor of Biology.

Williams’ project will examine whether quail and songbird abundance can be used as indicators of grassland health in the Chihuahuan Desert Grassland Ecosystem. She is advised by Dr. Ryan Luna, assistant professor of Wildlife Management.

Dr. Scudday (1929-2009) was a CDRI co-founder and longtime professor of Biology at Sul Ross. Upon his retirement in 1995, he was named a Distinguished Professor Emeritus by the Board of Regents of the Texas State University System, the Board’s highest honor for retired educators.

In addition to a full teaching load, he conducted significant research, published in scientific journals and prepared numerous comprehensive vertebrate surveys for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and the National Park Service.

During his Sul Ross tenure, Scudday directed more than 100 students in graduate programs and thesis projects. Many of his former students remained in close contact with him during the course of his lifetime.

The Dr. James F. Scudday CDRI Endowed Scholarship Fund was established in 2010 in recognition of his many contributions to the field and his passion for teaching. Income from the fund supports scholarships for Sul Ross graduate students, and each $17,000 generated for the endowment will fund an additional scholarship.

Donations may be sent to: CDRI, PO Box 905, Fort Davis, TX 79734 (please indicate Scudday Scholarship on donation). CDRI is a 501C3 organization so donations are tax deductible.

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