GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Two seniors in the UF/IFAS College of Agricultural and Life Sciences (CALS), Leah Roddenberry and Lacey Lingelbach, were selected by the UF Alumni Association and UF Honors Program as an Outstanding Leader and Outstanding Scholar, respectively.
Both students were recognized for their exemplary leadership and academic excellence throughout their undergraduate careers. The Alumni Association and Honors Program hosted a virtual ceremony for all award recipients, held April 28.
Roddenberry, a family, youth and community sciences senior, was selected as an Outstanding Leader. This award was given to six students in 2021 for the quality and scope of their leadership activities, university-wide leadership, experience, special awards, and recommendations from faculty, staff and the community.
“I am honored, humbled and extremely grateful to be selected as one of six students from the 2021 graduating class as an Outstanding Leader,” Roddenberry said. “This award is a culmination of service, sacrifice and intentional dedication to the University of Florida that I hope will be felt long beyond my past four years here at UF.”
She credits the UF/IFAS department of family, youth and community sciences for the opportunity to gain hands-on experience working in the community, recognizing the needs of others and creating innovative solutions to meet their needs.
Roddenberry said her degree program “has taught me how to see the world through different perspectives and to realize that my gifts can be utilized to make the world a better place for those around me.”
Roddenberry plans to attend law school to pursue a Juris Doctor degree after graduation. This summer, she will participate in the Miss Florida Scholarship Competition, a part of the Miss America Organization, the largest provider of scholarships to young women in the world.
Lingelbach, an environmental science senior, was selected as an Outstanding Scholar. This award recognizes students for exemplary scholarship during their undergraduate career, based on academic criteria including GPA, academic awards and research. She is a native Floridian from Hobe Sound, a small coastal town in South Florida. Her town experienced destructive, toxic algal blooms in 2016, and as a result, Lingelbach became an advocate for raising awareness of climate change threats impacting her community and its natural areas.
Motivated to help develop solutions for climate change issues, Lingelbach previously served as a UF/IFAS Extension intern. Through her internship, she developed climate education and action resources for local communities. She learned how to best collaborate with local stakeholders to disseminate information and recognized the impact she could make through Extension in assisting local communities in building climate resilience through science-based policy solutions.
Lingelbach’s undergraduate honors thesis investigated the gap between rural and urban Florida’s climate action plans. Her thesis identified climate planning challenges specific to rural inland communities and proposed solutions for overcoming them, which can be implemented by rural governments, community organizations and other external supporting agents. Lingelbach was part of the Askew Scholars program through the Bob Graham Center for Public Service at UF. Through the program, she shared her findings with Rotary Clubs in North Central Florida.
“I feel incredibly grateful and amazed to have been recognized for my work,” Lingelbach said. “At the University of Florida, I am surrounded by some of the greatest minds and talents in the world. I believe being an Outstanding Scholar goes beyond the classroom or lab. In accordance with the University’s land grant mission, it means connecting our scholarship work to stakeholder communities across the state, nation and world.”
Following graduation, Lingelbach will be pursuing a Master of Public Affairs degree at Indiana University Bloomington, concentrating in environmental policy and community development. She hopes to continue honing her skills as a public servant, gain higher-level knowledge about her interests and expand her network with other leaders to solve large-scale, resource intensive issues like the climate crisis.
To qualify for Outstanding Leader and Scholar Awards, applicants must be undergraduate seniors who have applied for graduation the semester they receive the award. In addition to this year’s virtual awards ceremony, recipients will be featured in the commencement program.
View the full list of Outstanding Leader and Scholar Award recipients at https://connect.ufalumni.ufl.edu/events/ols.
The College of Agricultural and Life Sciences (CALS) administers the degree programs of the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS). The mission of the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences is to deliver unsurpassed educational programs that prepare students to address the world’s critical challenges related to agriculture, food systems, human wellbeing, natural resources and sustainable communities. The college has received more total (national and regional combined) USDA teaching awards than any other institution.