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Carol S. Comeau Environmental Scholarship

Funded by
Picture of the donor
Carol Comeau
4 winners, $1,500 each
Application Deadline
Apr 1, 2024
Winners Announced
May 1, 2024
Education Level
High School
Recent scholarship winners
Eligibility Requirements
Education Level:
Must be a high school senior
Must be from Washington
Field of Interest:
Must be planning to pursue a degree in environmental studies

As the climate crisis continues to escalate, it is critical that the next generation of environmentalists are supported in their education.

Climate change is forcing over 20 million people around the world from their homes each year and has caused the number of climate-driven disasters to triple within the last three decades. In order to save the planet, environmental science and conservation are more important than ever.

This scholarship seeks to support high school seniors from Washington who are planning to pursue environmental studies. 

Any high school senior at a public high school in Washington who is planning on attending college or a trade school to pursue environmental studies may apply for this scholarship. 

To apply, tell us about yourself and how you hope to make a difference in the world through your degree in environmental studies.

Selection Criteria:
Ambition, Need, Boldest Profile
Published August 17, 2023
Essay Topic

Please tell us a bit about yourself and how you plan to make a positive impact on the world through your pursuit of environmental studies.

400–600 words

Winning Applications

Paige Rude
Nathan Hale High SchoolSeattle, WA
A refreshing gust of wind grazed my face as the sun peeked out from behind the clouds and landed on my back. All I could see for miles was rolling, forested green hills. The smell of fresh pine trees was heavenly. There's nothing quite like sitting on a rock after a long hike and gazing at the scenery. Unfortunately, it's not a realistic goal to hope to be on top of a mountain every day. Thankfully, nature is everywhere; even if it's just a single tree, or a pigeon fluttering around the city. That is why AP Environmental Science was by far my favorite class I've ever taken. I loved going outside multiple times a week and collecting data from the creek next to my school. Even if it was raining, being outside was better than sitting in a concrete building for an hour. The best part was when the class would walk across the street to Meadowbrook Pond. Although my school is in a dense suburban/urban area, this pond was brimming with wildlife. Ducks, geese, frogs, and if you’re lucky you might see a blue heron or a beaver. Being in nature and studying the environment is one of the few activities that is both self-fulfilling and productive in helping the world. Other passions of mine such as playing guitar or being part of sports teams are meaningful too - they are great ways to connect with people and make a lasting impact. However, being in nature can do those things too, and protecting our natural environment has an even greater lasting impact than human connection on its own. Every person has positive experiences with nature, whether it’s sitting atop a mountain, watching a shimmering golden sunset, seeing a herd of deer grazing in a meadow, or a flock of birds flying in formation. Nature is something that not only unites us all with one another but unites us with our planet. Our connection with nature and our natural environment is part of what makes us human. Due to human-caused climate change, species populations are decreasing and nearing extinction. Forests are burning more than ever before. Climate change is no longer merely affecting wildlife, it negatively affects us too. As a society, we are constantly seeing news about climate change, whether it's an article, on TV, or in our classes. Even though we are constantly being fed this news, it feels distant. Polar ice caps are melting, but that's far away - it won't affect me. Global temperatures are rising but it's only a few degrees - that's not that much. These kinds of misconceptions are everywhere. I want to not only be involved in helping protect our world but also to help people open their eyes to what is happening in ways they can understand and sympathize with. Especially legislators and leaders in big corporations who are contributing substantially to carbon emissions. That's why I want to be involved in the field of environmental science.
Ryan Krejcha
Mountain View High SchoolVANCOUVER, WA
Carter Raef
Arlington High SchoolARLINGTON, WA
I live in Western Washington, and I consider myself very lucky that I do so. Despite climate change, the weather around my home as stayed fairly normal throughout the year - rain for 9 months, be nice for 3. However, it isn't entirely the same; dry months are drier and wet months are wetter. And not this year, but more recent years, there have been major smoke problems in August. Everywhere else I look is either on fire (California, Oregon, British Columbia, Australia, etc.) flooding (Derna) a three year long El Nina, drought (east Africa, south Asia, Australia, etc.) extreme temperatures, and so on. I also fully believe that the problems will be fixed or at least largely mitigated by the time I die. Environmental science is an expanding field and to be blunt, the boomers are dying off. There are a few key issues that need to be addressed that would go a long way. We need to find a way to sink carbon back into the ocean so it doesn't clog up our atmosphere. We need to find a way for sustainable energy to be cheap and affordable so that semi-developed countries like India and China and easily reduce their carbon footprint. And we need to identify keystone species to protect so that Mother Nature can repair herself with minimal effort on our part. I think society as a whole needs to step back and look at the larger picture. Paper straws aren't going to solve anything, because plastic straws aren't the main problem. I want to get out into the field so I can help identify the keystone parts of our ecosystems. I think humans need to trust that Mother Nature has run things perfectly fine for the past several billion years and that if we plug the biggest holes the ship should right itself for the most part. I remember watching a documentary on the discovery of keystone species and thinking to myself "this is it." Micromanaging our climates and ecosystems can be just as harmful as doing nothing at all. As much as the idea of colonizing Mars excites me, I understand that for at least the next hundred years Earth is the only planet for 99.99% of the population to live on. People are dying because of this. The death toll in Derna is over eleven thousand, while ninety-seven are dead in Lahaina. Practically half the world is in drought, and not enough is being done. I don't want to die in a world that is constantly on fire, with not enough crops to eat. I don't want to bring children into the world if they'll just grow up to see it crumple around them. And we can't afford to wait to act because enough generations have done that already.
Joaquin Garcia
Lincoln High School (Seattle)Seattle, WA
My love for biology goes back as far as elementary school. My science teacher, a former biological researcher, emphasized the study of all things in nature but especially the study of animals. I remember a lab we did in second or third grade, where we made a mock animal encyclopedia entry for a toucan, complete with facts and handmade “scientific” drawings made with precision using rulers and geometric-shaped stencils. It was activities like this that nurtured my curiosity for biology. I was intrigued by the minute data you could collect, down to the patterns on feathers. Because nature is so vast, there are still and will always be so many discoveries to be made, so much that is new to learn and comprehend. With COVID-19, I suddenly had seemingly infinite free time, so I channeled my curiosity and early love of nature into fishing. I had fished with my dad a few times, but we never had luck catching anything, so I watched as many YouTube videos as I could and read numerous scientific journals to find tips for fishing. I learned not only how to find and catch fish, but also how to identify them, which became my favorite part of fishing. Learning species identification and identifying distinguishing characteristics to differentiate closely related species endlessly fascinates me. I have used these skills to gather data about species size and those species that are most abundant, to make inferences about the health of each population in various bodies of water, and eventually compile it all into a research journal. On an upcoming research trip with Ecology Project International, I will contribute to terrestrial research projects such as neotropical bat surveys and herpetology studies, as well as collect data on fish species on the Belize Barrier Reef. Through the Belize trip, my research journal, and taking AP Biology, AP Environmental Science, and Marine Science, I have been striving in my high school career to learn as much as I can about biological processes in nature. Being able to work in the field conducting surveys and collecting data as a Wildlife Biologist or a Field Ecologist is my dream, and being awarded this scholarship greatly would enhance my education and further my pursuit of this goal. It will allow me to channel my curiosity and appreciation for nature into creating a world with a better understanding of wildlife and a drive to preserve the species and ecosystems so they can be appreciated in the future.
Isabella McFrazier
Sehome High SchoolBellingham, WA
Over the past 4 years, I have worked to create tangible change in my community, for the improvement of my quality of life as well as the quality of life of others. Specifically, I have helped to guide my school towards creating spaces for students of color to find community, and to express themselves and their culture. I've achieved this through starting a club, the Young Multiracial Society at Sehome High School, through that club I have been able to curate display cases, art pieces, community events, school-wide outreach, and speakers’ panels to give community members of color a voice and a platform. My DEI work around the district has been incredibly rewarding and I have been presented with the opportunity to MC and MLK Day event at Western Washington University on Monday 16th, 2023. Aside from the DEI work that I do, I have recently acquired the position of "Student Board Member" on the executive board of our community Nooksack Salmon Enhancement Association. This position has allowed me to become familiar with the inner workings of a non-profit organization, I hope that this experience serves me well in the future, as I would like to major in Environmental Science Forestry and perhaps learn more about Marine Biology. So, I may be working in and around non-profit organizations throughout my career and learning from the senior members of NSEA has given me some incredible insight. I do my best to connect my school and community to the NSEA work-party events, where we do restoration and removing invasive species. I am the communications director for the environmental club at Sehome and I have helped to bridge the gap between the club and NSEA, I will continue to work on projects for the club surrounding the restoration and protection of the beautiful land on which we reside. It is important to me that I note my philosophy of Environmental Justice, which sits on the principal that ancient native and indigenous peoples knew how to use their resources without depleting them, they understood the forests around them and had important uses for the many plants that surrounded them, in order to protect our environment from the destruction that it faces, we must look into the past and learn from the people who were here first. Only then can we make the change that we want to see. That is the change that I want to see, it is what I work towards, and what I am fascinated by. It is this, my community involvement and interest in the intersectionality of culture and environment, that I believe makes me a good candidate for this scholarship. Knowledge is a privilege, higher education is a privilege, and we would be remiss as scholars and intellectuals to not part with our knowledge, research, and understanding for the greater good of the world. For a world that is equitable, knowledgeable, and our own.
Dylan fraioli
Maine Maritime AcademyBremerton, WA
There is a creature named after me. That is a statement I will make before I pass. After having a fulfilling life of exploring the ocean and researching the unknown depths I will have a creature named after me. To get to the end goal I will require an education in marine zoology. To get an education in marine zoology I will require going through college. To go through college I will require the finances to pay for college. To receive the finances needed for college I will require scholarships. My passion is marine zoology. I have dreamed of going into the field since I went to the Seattle Aquarium in 5th grade. I desire to go into the farthest depths of the ocean and discover what allows the species down there to live under intense pressure, harshly cold temperatures, low food, and with no vision. I wish to know if these species can shed light upon us and give ideas and inspiration for new ways to combat problems we are experiencing now like climate change. If I can discover and do research on the organism that can replenish our world's situation then, and only then, can I truly believe that the hard work I put in to be given the opportunities that I will attain has come to a slow. The hard work I put in will never stop but it will slow once the world’s environment returns to an incline. A masters degree is required to obtain a research job in marine zoology. I will need to go through at least 6 years of university to reach the level of knowledge required to research the topics I want to study. A bachelor's degree only allows me to work in labs with marine zoology and I would not be able to do any research. I will obtain a master's degree so that I can go out into the open ocean to experience and research the animals in their natural habitat interacting with their ecosystem with little to no human interaction. While I will start my career path in a lab, I will later go into the natural ecosystems and learn about organisms first hand. To get a masters degree I require a college education. I am starting with Maine Maritime Academy and will obtain my degree in marine biology. I will work in the field while going through college. During my off time from schooling and work, I will go down to the water to scuba dive and study the ocean. I will get my dual degree in 200 ton vessel operations and license so that I can do work and research on boats sent out into the ocean. I will lead the way. Financial aid is a necessity for me to pay for college. With scholarships I am able to lessen the amount of cost significantly from $50,000+. My family situation is split with no extra income able to help me financially. Without scholarships I will be forced to take out large amounts of loans every year to keep up with my dream and passion. Scholarships k are going to be the difference between our world without change and heading to unfixable destruction or saving the world and the organisms that live with it.
Callie Showalter
Squalicum High SchoolBellingham, WA
Tanner Rapp
University of Washington-Seattle CampusBellingham, WA
Throughout my life, I have heard repeatedly to, “leave this place better than you found it.” Usually just from disgruntled teachers who don’t want to deal with the mess made by some arts and crafts project. But I think it is something we should all live by and use when looking at life in the long run. I want to have a life rich with experiences and people. I want to have an impact in solving the biggest threat for all, climate change. I have already had a fair bit of experience with activism, having organized 2 climate strikes in my town, but in that time I have found that I don’t think activism is the correct route for me. It can be quite dreadful and really feel hopeless at times. As much effort as you put in, the globe is still going to be warming. At some point, I decided that the best way to go about impacting the climate crisis was to learn more about it. So I signed up to take AP Environmental Science. This class opened my eyes to all the individual facets which have detrimental impacts on the environment, as well as the world of possible solutions and factors that could contribute towards helping the environment. Alternative fuel vehicles, research on reaching a 100% return on recycling plastic, machines that can directly take carbon dioxide out of the air or water and store it. New renewable energy options like nuclear fusion keep advancing towards sustainably producing energy by harnessing and refining the same processes that our sun uses. It is truly incredible. My brain is wired to understand science and mathematics, and it has become clear that STEM is the field for me. I want to be able to look back, and say that I was not complacent in light of an emergency. I dream of being able to say that the climate crisis has been averted. While the specifics of my career are still quite up in the air, I have always planned on going to college, and I hope to get the best education I can while still being somewhat affordable. Eventually, I hope to be a part of some research on nuclear fusion and if it becomes a successful means of generating energy, I could help implement it into actual power structures and make even more progress towards phasing out energy generated by fossil fuels. There’s lots of talk about switching to electric but it’s not too much better for the environment if the electricity is still being generated by burning fossil fuels. I plan to use my education to create the most positive impact on the world that I can with my time here, and maybe one day I can be a part of why the globe has stopped warming.
Elias Plaster
Bellingham High SchoolBellingham, WA
Growing up and living on the Lummi Reservation, many traditional foods I ate were abundant and we were unaware of how climate change affects them. The salmon, clams, oysters, Dungeness crab, shrimp, many other sea foods, herbs, plants, and other animals make up Lummi's traditional diet. It was not until my first year of high school that I recognized the threat climate change posed to my own traditional way of life. When I took an environmental science class, and we started the chapter on climate change I had thought about how much our culture would suffer. I thought about how my younger brothers, cousins, and future generations would have to deal with the loss of culturally important resources. This inspired me to learn more about climate change and ways that I could help. It was not until the Summer of 2021 when I got the chance to work with Lummi's Natural Resources Department assisting in clam surveys and capturing invasive European green crabs. During this time, I worked with many people who got a degree in the environmental sciences field, and they helped me realize it was something I wanted to pursue myself. Helping conduct research and fight off green crabs that harm native species was something I was passionate about and had fun doing. I enjoyed being outdoors instead of at a desk all day and found a place that I wanted to continue working at in the future. I liked working there so much that I was able to extend my working period for more two weeks, which was a few days before I was going to start school. I was also told that the tribe did not have a designated climate change person and that they should make a position, which I would be interested in doing once I graduate college. It is also a dream of mine to direct the Natural Resources department when I get older because there has not been led by a Lummi tribal member for many years. Once I graduate with my degree, I hope to work somewhere within Washington to focus on climate change effects locally. There is not a specific agency, department, or company that I am interested in working at. I would like to work on projects that would find and create solutions to problems caused by climate change. Whether it be finding solutions for ocean acidification, sea level rise, rising temperatures, greenhouse gases or anything else that contributes to climate change. I would also like to educate people about climate change and how it affects everyone because a lot of people do not accurately know a lot about it. Education is a crucial step in addressing climate change because it informs other people about it and can cause them to make changes in their own life that are environmentally friendly. I would like to travel around the world to work with different communities that are most impacted by climate change to help create solutions and advocate for them. When I get older, I plan to work for Lummi to mitigate and adapt to climate change within the community through several projects covering all areas of. I hope to guide Lummi and other Indigenous communities throughout the country and beyond through the climate crisis so that our cultures and traditions survive for future generations.
Mayhsa Deol
Sehome High SchoolBellingham, WA
My name is Mayhsa Deol and I’m a senior at Sehome High school this year. Thank you for considering me for this scholarship! In my free time, I love being outdoors. I enjoy mountain biking, skiing, hiking, running, and gardening. My love for the outdoors led me to develop a deep sense of caring for the earth and gratefulness to have spaces to enjoy nature. I developed a deep desire to preserve, protect, and expand these areas for future generations to enjoy. My parents moved to the United States from Punjab, India when they were young. I was born in Detroit, Michigan, and moved to the beautiful Pacific Northwest when I was seven. I have three brothers, two who are younger and one who is older. In addition, my religion, Sikhism, plays a big role in my life. During my undergraduate, I plan on majoring in Environmental science and minoring in anthropology. Upon graduation, I will attend a master's program followed by a subsequent Ph.D. I intend on becoming a professor and teaching Environmental Science at a university. Children and young adults are our future and will dictate how our future efforts against climate change will play out. I want to educate and inspire other young people to take action to help the environment. During my education, I plan on continuing my environmental-focused volunteering that I started during 9th grade. For example, I’m the president of our high school’s National Honor Society. During Covid, we couldn’t organize our yearly blood drive, so I took the initiative to clean up a local trail instead. Overall, the event was a huge success and we picked up dozens of trash bags filled with litter. In fact, the project had such a positive reaction so that I began organizing trash pick-ups on various other trails with different organizations. I spearheaded multiple trash pick-ups through Sehome’s Key Club, of which I’m also the president. I intend on organizing many of these future events and scaling them to a bigger effort. Furthermore, I love mountain biking on our local trails and frequently volunteer with work parties designed to maintain, improve, and build new trails. On our local mountain biking area, Galbraith Mountain, volunteers and local organizations play a big part in maintaining the trails. I strive to pull my weight whenever possible. It’s possible for me to ride amazing trails in my backyard, so I want to ensure that other people have the same chance. I plan to continue with trail restoration and creation in the future and take on a bigger leadership role so my efforts can reach a wider audience. Being a teenage Indian girl who likes activities such as skiing, biking and hiking is often lonely. I don’t see many people with my skin color outdoors, since it’s such a white-dominated area. I hope to create clubs and initiatives during my post-high school education that help people of color get outdoors. I believe that when people spend time outdoors, they begin to feel connected and feel the beauty of it. This in turn promotes greater caring and stewardship for the outdoors, because people want to keep on using these outdoor lands and protect them for future generations. Through teaching Environmental Science at a University and volunteering and creating change at a grassroots level, I plan on living a full life making a positive impact on the world through environmental stewardship.


When is the scholarship application deadline?

The application deadline is Apr 1, 2024. Winners will be announced on May 1, 2024.

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