Published: May 9, 2016
Bridger Ruyle and Zhashki (Sasha) Strong

CU-Boulder students Bridger Ruyle and Zhashki (Sasha) Strong have been selected as 2016 Udall Scholars, becoming the ninth and tenth CU-Boulder students to be honored with the scholarship since its inception in 1996.

Ruyle and Strong were among 60 students from 49 colleges and universities across the nation honored by the Udall Foundation with scholarships on the basis of their commitment to careers in the environment, American Indian health care, or tribal public policy; leadership potential; record of public service; and academic achievement. Each scholarship provides up to $7,000 for the scholars' junior or senior year.

Ruyle, a junior environmental engineering major from Denver, won an environmentally focused Udall. He has long-term aspirations to make a positive difference for the environment, specifically helping redefine the practice of sustainable development, with an emphasis on strengthening environmental safeguards in developing countries. Ideally, he will help achieve a balance between future resource needs for sustainable energy technology while maintaining healthy environments.

He believes he can best meet this goals with a career in higher education, as education has the power to transform people's conservation and environmental stewardship choices. As a professor, he plans to research international policies and their impacts on local development choices.

Currently, Ruyle works in the research lab of Professor Karl Linden exploring ways to treat flowback and produced water from hydraulic fracturing. He is a Presidents Leadership Class scholar and is a member of the Engineering Honors Program and the Global Engineering Residential Academic Program. He also serves as sustainability director for CU Student Government.

Strong is a junior studying political science. Her Udall Scholarship is in the area of Native American Tribal Policy. She plans to become a practicing lawyer with specialties in Federal Indian law and tribal policy. Her goal is to represent Native American community members in achieving justice as an agent and a voice of change.

An internship at the law firm of Smith, Shellenberger, and Salazar gave her firsthand experience with Federal Indian law, and gave her a deep sense of fulfillment in helping to represent those who have fallen victim to injustice. A second internship with the State of Colorado House Chambers gave her an opportunity to see how policy is made. Her internships have shown her that family law within state jurisdiction is already a cumbersome situation; once a case is then mixed with state law, federal law, and tribal law, the conglomerate result is overwhelming. Her overall goal is to work with individual, Native American families to improve the quality of life.

Strong is a member of Phi Theta Kappa Honors society and Phi Alpha Delta law fraternity. She’s competed with the Native Thunder Running Group, and has been a Jingle Dress dancer. She currently works for the Office of Admissions at CU-Boulder. 

Sophomores and juniors interested in applying for a Udall scholarship next year should contact for more information.