SUSTAINED FOCUS: Rhodes Scholar Colin Higgins Colin Higgins came to UW-Madison looking for conservation and left a geographer. The triple major—who graduated in May with comprehensive honors in environmental studies, geography and history—also ended his undergraduate career as the recipient of a distinguished honor: a Rhodes scholarship for two to three years of study at Oxford University in England. During his time at UW, Higgins has encouraged engagement in environmental and sustainability issues both on and off campus. He founded and chaired the Associated Students of Madison Sustainability Committee; as student leader of the Office of Sustainability, he ran the
student Sustainability Council and advised on campus sustainability research, education and operations. He has also conducted independent research on the valuation of ecosystem services such as biodiversity. The Rhodes Scholarship isn’t the first recognition of Higgins’ achievements. In 2014, he received a Morris K. and Stewart L. Udall Scholarship for outstanding potential and a commitment to pursuing environmental careers. Higgins is currently a graduate student in the Robert M. La Follette School of Public Affairs and will complete an accelerated Master of Public Affairs degree in the spring. Through the Rhodes Scholarship, he plans to seek philosophical and practical solutions to environmental governance issues by pursuing an MPhil in Geography and the Environment, supervised by Oxford professor Jamie Lorimer. Higgins laid the foundation for this work last summer, conducting fieldwork in Oxford on biodiversity offsetting, the practice of using a market-based system to ensure no net loss of nature due to development. He plans to get a doctorate in geography and pursue a career bridging research and policy. Julie Stubbs, director of the Office of Undergraduate Academic Awards, says he made the most of his undergraduate experience at UW, specifically with regard to his leadership and depth of independent research. And Provost Sarah Mangelsdorf is encouraged to see the scholarship go to a Wisconsinite like Higgins, who hails from Middleton. “As the state’s flagship university, nurturing homegrown talent is one of our greatest privileges,” she says. — Adapted from a story by Susannah Brooks
L&S Annual Review 2015-2016
The Annual Review for the College of Letters & Science at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.