Scholarship offered to Loyola’s Environmental Justice Scholars


Gabrielle Korein

A couple sits in the grass, enjoying the sunshine and nice weather last year. Entergy’s Charitable Foundation recently funded a scholarship for Loyola’s Environmental Justice Scholars, designed to help these students fund projects that will protect and preserve the environment the couple enjoys.

Alexandra Martinez, Staff Writer

Loyola’s newly developed Environmental Justice Scholars Program recently announced five outstanding students on campus who will be receiving stipends for their work in environmental justice.

The stipends are given to those who are chosen after submitting their work to a contest, which requires each student to submit the results of a community engagement program. Students can work on environmental issues research, community service, or both, as a part of their submissions.

The program is working with the Entergy Charitable Foundation, which has been supporting environmental studies at Loyola for about fifteen years, in order to fund the stipends, according to Aimee Thomas, an assistant professor of biology at the school.

Students said they have the freedom to decide how to utilize their funds, and students so far have said they are planning on using the money for household necessities, paying tuition, and starting a pet service business.

Students have to be majoring or minoring in environmental studies in order to apply, with a minimum GPA of 2.75. They also had to submit a proposal by September, according to Thomas.

The five final students chosen to receive the 2022-2023 award​​ were Katie Buc, Faythe Endres, Robert Moreau, Taiyah Murphy, and Jacqueline Mutter, according to a Loyola press release. The projects they will be working on will positively impact New Orleans and expand knowledge in their fields, Thomas said.

Buc said she believes her study on litter is important because New Orleans is one in the top five of the most polluted cities in the United States, and it is important to inform people about it and most importantly, to make a change, she said.

Murphy, an environmental studies junior and first-generation college student, said that she is using the funding to educate people on the ways that they can help the environment.

“There are many ways people can advocate for the environment and social justice in general,” Murphy said. “Everything that happens to the environment directly affects humans. This is why the program aims to give students at Loyola, and New Orleans citizens in general, the resources to obtain information about the many environmental issues that our city is facing and how to resolve them.”

Jacqueline Mutter, a Loyola environmental studies junior, said that her project ended up being much bigger than anticipated.

“What initially intrigued me was the concept of the interconnectedness between spirituality, healing, and the environment,” Mutter said.

Moreau, a Loyola environmental studies freshman, said that he will work on a farm as part of his project, where he will gain knowledge and experience in gardening in order to pass it down to others.

“Growing our food can decrease many nutritional issues. The United States outsources a lot of its food, and every single part of growing food is essential to our health. These new practices and habits are something I can influence in our community,” he said.

Endres, a Loyola environmental sciences major, said that she is glad to have the funds to support her hands-on project related to art and design.

“I think it’s important to the community because I would just hope that others can see both the collective action and the technical benefits of a project because there’s definitely something in creating a sense of communal pride and optimism,” Endres said.

Students have the option to be guided by Thomas or to work with an organization to complete their projects. Thomas said that, to her, offering this opportunity to students and giving back to the community means everything. She said that this program aligns with both Jesuit education in serving others.

“I helped them partner with organizations that would help them fulfill their interests. Instead of having jobs not related to environmental justice, they get to have hands on at a job that supports their passion,” Thomas said. “Our mission is to allow students to engage and study above and beyond the classroom, which is one of the main reasons students decide to come to Loyola.”