The Udall Foundation announced recipients of the 2022 Undergraduate Scholarship, and among them is UNM student Nicolas Estrada. 

Estrada is a UNM Honors College student with a Regents Scholarship. Born and raised in Albuquerque, N.M., he is a junior studying political science and history. 

The scholarship facilitated through the Udall Foundation honors the legacies of Morris Udall 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.

Estrada is passionate about equitable resource management and is working as a UNM Water Resources Fellow to create a public-facing, interactive model of riparian ecosystem challenges in the Middle Rio Grande. He previously interned in the office of U.S. Senator Ben Ray Luján and the Albuquerque Office of Civil Rights, where he helped connect constituents with government resources and learned about current environmental issues. 

I am extremely thankful for the mentors, friends, and family that have helped me throughout my life,” Estrada said. “I am particularly thankful for my parents, who took me on the hikes, bike rides, and road trips that sparked my love for the environment.”

The scholarship comes with access to the Udall Alumni Network: an association of change-makers. It also supports recipients attending a five-day orientation and networking event, and up to $7,000 for eligible academic expenses. This year, 55 scholars were chosen from 382 nominations representing 181 institutions. 

After graduation, Estrada hopes to earn his law degree so he can facilitate water rights adjudication.

“As a future water lawyer, I look forward to giving back to my home state of New Mexico by ensuring that water and other vital resources are sustainably managed,” he said.