UM Presidential Leadership Scholar Elizabeth “Libby” Riddle. Photo submitted

By UM News Service

MISSOULA, MT— Elizabeth “Libby” Riddle of Nashville, is one of 32 top-tier students who will receive a Presidential Leadership Scholarship to attend the University of Montana in Missoula.

Riddle graduated from Hume-Fogg Academic Magnet High School this spring. She is the daughter of Andrea and Danny Riddle.

UM’s Presidential Leadership Scholars are chosen based on leadership, service and academic merit, and the full-ride scholarships are renewable for a total of four years. This year’s incoming PLS cohort had an average GPA of 3.92 and an average ACT score of 31.

In addition to joining UM’s Davidson Honors College, Riddle plans to study wildlife biology at UM.

“I was drawn to UM by the university’s commitment to the environment and the wealth of programs within environmental science fields,” Riddle said. “I’ve known I wanted to do environmental science for a long time, so I knew I’d found the right place at UM when I saw they were just as passionate about the planet as I am.”

Riddle knew she wanted to major in wildlife biology after she spent the summer between her junior and senior year of high school working in a wildlife biology research lab at Tennessee State University.

“I absolutely loved my time there; I learned all about field work and researching wildlife,” she said. “I’ve always been passionate about animals, so I was thrilled to find this field and this program at UM that so perfectly fit my interests.”

Given her love of animals, perhaps it’s not surprising that Riddle says one change she’d like to see a world where people showed more compassion.

“I think at the root of many of society’s problems is a lack of compassion – and instead apathy – toward issues that don’t directly impact [them],” she said. “I think this ‘not-my-problem’ attitude is to the detriment of our planet and our global community.”

Asked to reflect those who helped her reach for her goals, Riddle spoke fondly of her high school teachers.

“I’d like to thank, of course, my parents for always supporting my endeavors no matter how crazy they often seemed, but I must also thank my teachers and mentors who helped me every step of the way throughout the last four years,” Riddle said. “Specifically, Mr. Hedglin and Mr. Lovell at my high school, Hume-Fogg, because they were confident in me when I wasn’t, they pushed me to step out of my comfort zone and they always reminded me of my own ability and determination.”