The Gene R. Urey Memorial Scholarship

Established in 1999 by family, friends and former students, this scholarship honors the memory of Gene R. Urey, professor of political science at Susquehanna University from 1965-1999, and awards students who demonstrate superior critical thinking and analysis in the study of constitutional law.


2022 Scholarship Participants

Morgan Engler ’22

For the Petitioner, the State of Oklahoma

Morgan Engler is a senior political science and legal studies double major with a minor in the honors program from Lebanon, Pennsylvania, where she graduated from Cedar Crest High School. Morgan is a member of Sigma Kappa sorority and Alpha Phi Omega service fraternity, where she previously served as president. She is also president and captain of the Susquehanna Mock Trial Team, a YoungLife leader, a member of the Pre-Law Society and is involved in various other organizations on Susquehanna’s campus. Morgan is currently in the middle of the application process and plans to attend law school next fall.

Katie Earle ’22

For the Respondent, Castro-Huerta

Katie Earle is a senior political science, legal studies, and sociology triple major from Westfield, Pennsylvania, where she graduated from Cowanesque Valley High School. Katie is the president of Pre-Law Society, a senior community assistant for 18th Street residence halls, and a member of the Mock Trial team and Association of Latinx and Allied Students. She is also a member of Alpha Phi Omega service fraternity, Pi Sigma Alpha National Political Science Honorary Society, and Pi Gamma Mu International Honor Society in Social Science. Katie is currently studying to take the LSAT, and she plans to attend law school in the fall of 2023. 

 Scholarship participants are mentored by Bruce Ficken ’70 and Ryan Gleason ’04. 


Case to be Argued

Oklahoma v. Castro-Huerta

Victor Manuel Castro-Huerta was convicted of neglecting his 5-year-old stepdaughter. Although Castro-Huerta is not a Native American, his stepdaughter is a member of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, and the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals vacated his conviction because the crime occurred in Indian Country. The decision rested on the court’s conclusion that McGirt v. Oklahoma (2020) applies not only to major crimes committed by Native Americans but also to crimes committed by others in Indian Country. In McGirt, the Supreme Court held that a large portion of eastern Oklahoma, which was reserved for the Creek Nation in the 19th century, remains a reservation for purposes of a federal law that gives the federal government sole power to try certain major crimes committed “by any Indian” in “Indian Country.” Therefore, in the case at bar, the court is not reconsidering the decision of McGirt, but rather how broadly it applies. Specifically, this case is addressing whether a state has authority to prosecute persons who are not Native Americans who commit crimes against Native Americans in Indian Country.


2022 Scholarship Judges

Joshua Funk ’05
Chief of Staff and Counsel for Pennsylvania State Senate Majority Whip, Senator John R. Gordner

Allison Gordon ’12
Data Analyst Consultant with Consilio, LLC

Mike Piecuch
District Attorney, Snyder County

S. Jack Price, Jr. ’73
Attorney at Marshall, Bohorad, Thornburg,
Price and Campion, P.C.

Brian Ulmer
Public Defender, Union County

Past Scholarship Participants

2021

  • Alaina King ’21
  • Larry Czeponis ’22

2020

  • Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, no scholarship competition was held.

2019

  • Donovan Gayles ’20
  • Anthony Wojciechowsky ’20

2018

  • Shannon Costa ’18
  • Martin Hooper ’18

2017

  • Ashley (Machamer ’17) Smith
  • Gabrielle Pollard ’17

2016

  • Maribeth Guarino ’17
  • Jacqueline Keenan ’16

2015

  • Emerson Waite ’15
  • Christopher Warden ’16

2014

  • No scholarship event held.

2013

  • Bryon Chowka ’13
  • Morgan Klinger ’14

2012

  • Hannah Molitoris ’12
  • Matthew Wyman ’13

2011

  • Jason M. Wilson ’12
  • Allison B. Gordon ’12

2010

  • Anita (Lake ’10) Berry
  • Morgan B. (Specht ’11) Wagner

2009

In recognition of the special 10th annual event, we turned the tables a bit. Instead of student participants, two seasoned Urey Scholarship Competition Judges - Bruce W. Ficken Esq. ’70 and Samuel D. Clapper Esq. ’68 - presented the case to a Judges panel of past participants - Joshua D. Funk ’05, Ryan D. Gleason ’04, Neal R. Lesher ’08 and  David B. Wonderlick ’01.

2008

  • Danielle N. Jubic ’10
  • Tyler Van Kirk ’08

2007

  • Tracy (Januzzi ’07) Penfield
  • Neal Lesher ’08

2006

  • Steven Heverley ’06
  • Patrick Henry ’08

2005

  • Joshua Funk ’05
  • Brian Habermehl ’06

2004

  • Elizabeth Amato ’06
  • Thomas Sutcliffe ’06

2003

  • Ryan D. Gleason ’04
  • Mary (Lent ’04) Taylor

2002

  • Greg Wallinger ’02
  • Tara (Yutzy ’04) Collier

2001

  • Garrett Bissell ’01
  • Amy Purcell ’02

2000

  • Abigail (Myers ’01) LeGrow
  • Dave Wonderlick ’01