University of New Mexico student Dana Lee was just announced as a 2021 Udall Scholar – a distinct honor she shares with only a few others around the country. Chenoa Scippio and Dora Bean, also UNM students, were selected as honorable mentions for the award.
Fifty-five students from 42 colleges and universities were selected as 2021 Udall Scholars, chosen based on their commitment to careers in the environment, Tribal public policy, or Native health care; leadership potential; record of public service; and academic achievement. The Udall Foundation scholarship honors the legacies of Morris and Stewart Udall, whose careers had a significant impact on Native American self-governance, health care and the stewardship of public lands and natural resources.
“The honor of being a recipient of this award is incredibly humbling,” Lee said. “As a Diné woman and mother, I give thanks to the Great Creator and ancestors, to my two young children and husband, my father, my mother who watches from heaven, and all my friends, family, colleagues, and most importantly, the mentors who have guided me to push myself further than I ever could imagine.”
Lee is double majoring in Native American Studies and American Studies. She is a member of the Navajo Nation and is guided in the service and commitment to her Indigenous communities through participating with a local Indigenous liberation organization with on-the-ground campaigns, assisting in community gardening and providing food and materials for unsheltered relatives (homeless). She is a Mellon Mays fellow and plans to pursue her doctorate and a career in higher education.
“This recenters my engagement of “Sa’ah Naaghai Bik’eh Hozho”, which references how I interact as a Diné and how I am responsible to my community and relatives,” she said. “The Udall scholarship exemplifies how essential Native students are in this commitment to contribute to our communities.”
As a Udall Scholar, Lee will receive up to $7,000. Since the first awards in 1996, the Udall Foundation has awarded 1,788 Scholarships totaling over $9.1 million and 1,169 Honorable Mentions.
The review committee also awarded 55 Honorable Mentions, including Chenoa Scippio and Dora Bean.
Chenoa Scippio is a junior majoring in Population Health and Native American Studies. She plans to pursue a master’s program in Population Health and aspires to be a health behavior interventionist. She looks forward to working with communities to understand and address their most pressing health concerns.
Dora Bean is an Honors College student majoring Civil, Construction & Environmental Engineering. She plans to pursue a Master of Science in Water Resources Engineering in order to develop sustainable, culturally appropriate and cost-effective solutions in her home-state of New Mexico.
The Udall Scholars will connect August 3-6 for the annual Udall Scholar Orientation to meet one another and program alumni; learn more about the Udall legacy of public service; and interact with community leaders in environmental fields, Tribal health care, and governance.