Elena Louder was born in Twin Falls, Idaho, and will graduate this spring with a major in Resource Conservation and minors in Wilderness Studies and Spanish. She is an avid kayaker and river guide, and was initially drawn to Missoula for its nearby wild rivers. Little did she know her addiction to recreating on Montana’s white water would spark the beginning of a more academic quest to understand how and why societies interact with the natural resources which sustain them.
In her time at U of M, she has focused on the social aspects of resource management and conservation, and plans to eventually continue her studies at the graduate level. This summer she will return to the Middle Fork of the Salmon River for her seventh season as a raft guide in Idaho's Frank Church Wilderness. In the fall she plans to travel to southern Chile to continue her guiding and perfect her Spanish. Elena received the 2013 Mortar Board Outstanding Senior Award and is graduating with high honors.