An incredible scholarship and opportunity is going to a well-deserving Lobo.

University of New Mexico junior Gabrielle Thomas has just been awarded the prestigious Udall Scholarship. She joins just 54 other scholars, who were chosen out of 384 nominations and 172 institutions.  

Thomas will be part of the legacy instilled by 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. 

The Udall Foundation will provide Thomas with $7,000, as well as an all-inclusive, five-day networking event. She will also be connected with the Udall Alumni Network: an association of powerful advocates.

“I am extremely honored to be receiving the Udall Scholarship for the academic year of 2023-2024,” Thomas said.

Thomas has established an impressive list of accomplishments prior to earning this scholarship. As a member of the Navajo Nation, Thomas serves as an Ambassador for the UNM’s American Indian Student Services (AISS). She also welcomed a brand new cohort of lobos, last year, as a New Student Orientation Leader.

She is also a co-founder of the Pre-Physician Assistant Society on campus. After graduating with a degree in psychology, with a minor in chemistry, she hopes to enroll in the Physician Assistant school and return to Navajo Reservation to serve her community as a PA. She was just one of nine scholars to be recognized for a commitment to Native healthcare. 

“I want to say thank you to everyone who has supported me through my journey at UNM,” Thomas said. “More specifically, Kiyoko Simmons for helping me through the process of completing the scholarship. Most importantly, I want to thank my mom for being there every step of the way. I would not have been where I am today without her.” 

Psychology Associate Professor Bruce Smith, College Enrichment Program Senior Manager  Jose Villar and AISS Student Recruitment Specialist Andrew Yazzie all recommended Thomas for this distinction.

“Gabby is an incredible Indigenous scholar who has a deep commitment to giving back to her community,” Yazzie said. “At the University, she has taken on the role of a mentor, role model, & leader through her engagement with student organizations, leadership programming, and campus employment. This honor is well deserved and I look forward to Gabby’s bright future improving the health of Indigenous communities.” 

The 2023 Udall Scholars will connect August 2-6 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.

The Udall Scholarship is also coordinated by the Center for Academic Excellence & Leadership Development under the UNM Honors College