UGA awards student scholarships for study abroad in sustainability

March 13, 2015

Two University of Georgia students recently received scholarships as part of the Office of Sustainability’s Study Abroad in Sustainability. The awards—to graduate student Rachel Durham of Gulf Breeze, Florida, and undergraduate James “Walker” Tuten of Roswell—were made possible by the Brittney Fox Watts Memorial Endowment.
The endowment was established by the family of UGA alumna Brittney Fox Watts to honor her creative spirit, adventurous soul and loving heart and to empower individuals to address the health and well-being of people and communities around the globe. To date, six scholarships have been awarded to UGA students engaging in sustainability studies and service-learning in Australia, China, Costa Rica and New Zealand.
Durham, a master’s student studying environmental planning and design in the College of Environment and Design, plans to participate in the UGA Costa Rica Sustainability Internship Program this summer. This opportunity will support Durham’s thesis work on social, economic and environmental benefits of biogas digesters on people and communities in developing areas.  
Ever since she was a young child, Durham had aspirations “to travel the world and help people.” She said that she believes her work in Costa Rica will prove helpful toward a career in sustainable development and will afford “invaluable experience in working alongside homeowners building biogas digesters, an environmentally sustainable approach to meet their future energy needs.”
Tuten, a public relations and finance double major, plans to enroll in a Maymester study abroad program through UGA Discover Abroad. His passions for protecting the environment and positively shaping the culture around him grew out of childhood experiences fishing in the Chattahoochee River and learning about problems with water quality, man-made barriers in the river and dwindling fish populations.  
“One of the biggest reasons why I am so interested in this trip to Australia and New Zealand is because I believe I can learn the sustainability practices used in these naturally beautiful countries and bring them back to my hometown of Roswell,” he said. He hopes to leverage his love for the outdoors and academic training in business and public relations to effectively “create and work with initiatives that will be fiscally sustainable and make a lasting difference.”
The Brittney Fox Watts Endowment for Study Abroad in Sustainability provides support to students who share passions for traveling, experiencing different cultures and embracing sustainable practices to address the health and well-being of individuals and communities around the globe. A $500 scholarship is provided to select UGA undergraduate and graduate students attending a UGA-sponsored education abroad or exchange program focused on sustainability. The funds are provided through the generous support of family and friends of Watts to the Brittney Fox Watts Memorial Fund.

For more information on UGA Costa Rica, see For more information on UGA Discover Abroad, see

UGA Office of Sustainability

The Office of Sustainability coordinates, communicates and advances sustainability initiatives at the University of Georgia. For more information, see

Brittney Fox Watts Memorial Endowment

As a University of Georgia alumnus, Brittney Fox Watts was a dabbler and explorer of the world around her and was wholeheartedly dedicated to doing her best work, no matter the cause, newest hobby or challenge at hand. Watts’ family joined with the Small Dreams Foundation Inc. to create a memorial fund to honor her creative spirit, adventurous soul and loving heart.  It is their hope that this fund will provide financial support to students who share the same passions as Watts—who loved traveling the world, experiencing different cultures and supporting sustainable practices. To learn more, see

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