Senior Elspeth Collard

Student researcher awarded prestigious Luce fellowship for Asia study

February 20, 2023

Student Experience

University of Richmond senior Elspeth Collard was recently awarded the Luce Scholarship to study and work in Asia. 

This nationally competitive fellowship, awarded annually to 18 graduating seniors and young alumni nationwide, focuses on enhancing understanding of Asia. The program provides stipends, language training, and professional placement. Collard is UR’s second Luce Scholar.

Collard, a Richmond scholar who has studied abroad in Germany, Kenya, and Peru, is majoring in interdisciplinary studies with a focus on environmental health. Collard designed her own major to best fit her academic pursuits, which have centered on the intersection of environmental studies and health studies with a focus on populations disproportionately affected by issues in these fields.

Collard has used geospatial technologies to analyze and address environmental and development challenges across the Amazon, including the impacts of road building. She has also studied the effects of COVID-19 on Indigenous communities.

“Having studied both environmental and public health-related topics in the Amazon, I began seeing connections between the environmental issues Indigenous peoples face, such as deforestation, fires, and mining, and the public health problems they experience, such as air pollution, contaminated water, and disease spread,” Collard said. “The Luce award is my next step in learning more about how I can make a difference.”

“Elspeth is a wonderful example of a student who excels not only inside the structured classroom but is also constantly looking for opportunities outside of their coursework to go deeper into the topics they are passionate about,” said her geography professor David Salisbury. “Elspeth’s positivity, risk taking, hard work, and her ability to take full advantage of the University of Richmond’s opportunities, have led to her success in the environmental health field.”

After completing her fellowship, Collard plans to pursue a graduate degree in environmental health.

“The opportunity to spend a year developing as a researcher abroad will have a lasting impact on Elspeth’s future,” said Dana Kuchem, director of the Office of Scholars and Fellowships. “Luce scholars are engaged in the world, and this opportunity focuses on building mutual understanding through an immersive experience.”