Udall Scholarship Overview

Mount Lemmon, Tucson, Arizona History & Purpose: The Udall Foundation was established by the U.S. Congress in 1992 as an independent executive branch agency to honor Morris K. Udall's lasting impact on this nation's environment, public lands, and natural resources, and his support of the rights and self-governance of American Indians and Alaska Natives. The 1998 Environmental Policy and Conflict Resolution Act created the U.S. Institute for Environmental Conflict Resolution as a program of the Udall Foundation to assist parties in resolving environmental, public lands, and natural resources conflicts nationwide that involve federal agencies or interests. In 2009, Congress enacted legislation to honor Stewart L. Udall and add his name to the Udall Foundation. The Udall Foundation awards scholarships, fellowships, and internships for study in fields related to the environment and to American Indians and Alaska Natives in fields related to health care and tribal public policy. The Udall motto is Civility, Integrity, and Consensus.

Award Description & Funding Details: In 2018 the Udall Foundation anticipates awarding 50 scholarships of up to $7,000 each, to be used toward undergraduate tuition, fees, books and supplies, and room and board. The Udall Scholarship also provides access to the Udall Alumni Network, and includes participation in a five day Scholar Orientation in Tucson, Arizona to extend your professional network and learn new skills. In 2017, 494 students applied for the Udall Scholarship, and 50 students were awarded the scholarship. An additional 50 students were awarded an honorable mention.

Eligibility: Udall Scholarships are awarded to sophomores and juniors interested in the Environment, Tribal Policy, or Native Health Care who demonstrate leadership, commitment to public service, and specifically commitment to issues related to the environment/conservation issues or Native American nations. Must be either US citizens, US nationals, or US permanent residents. Applicants interested in Tribal Policy or Native Health Care must also meet additional eligibility criteria below.

Applicants for Udall Scholarships related to Tribal Policy must be: enrolled in a state or federally recognized tribe or band; have one (or more) grandparent who is/was an enrolled member of a state or federally recognized tribe or band; or be a permanent US resident or US citizen who is a member of the First Nations of Canada.

Applicants for Udall Scholarships related to Native Health Care must be: enrolled in a state or federally recognized tribe or band; have one or more grandparent who is/was an enrolled member of a state or federally recognized tribe or band; or be a permanent US resident or US citizen who is a member of the First Nations of Canada.

How to Apply

Students apply through the Udall Foundation's online application portal. They must be registered by the AC Director of Fellowships, who also provides application advising and support, and submit the completed application by the due date. The campus endorsement process does not involve a faculty committee at this time. To begin an application, please contact Christine Overstreet (coverstreet@amherst.edu). She will register you for an application, and you will receive an email providing access to the portal. The application opens on September 1st and for AC candidates must be completed by February 25, 2018. If there are more candidates than the College may nominate (four for Environment and four for Tribal Policy/Native Health Care), the Fellowships Office staff in consultation with the Chair of the Committee on Student Fellowships and other faculty will decide whom to nominate and notify candidates accordingly. Nominees' applications will be submitted to Udall by the Director of Fellowships by March 7, 2019.

Application components: The application includes a biographical questionnaire, and several short essay questions about your career aspirations, research activities (if any), leadership experience, community or public service experience, and a mission-clarifying moment. It also includes an 800-word essay described below. Official transcripts from AC and any transfer credits (study abroad or other) must be sent to the Director of Fellowships who will upload them to the portal. You will request three letters of recommendation from people who can speak to your leadership, public service, and academic achievements. Before you start, review the Udall sample application. (If you are applying for a Udall in tribal public policy or health care, or are a US permanent resident, you will provide some additional documentation.)

Essay: In 800 words or less, discuss a significant public speech, legislative act, book, or public policy statement by Congressman Morris K. Udall or Secretary of Interior Stewart L. Udall and its impact on your field of study, interests, and career goals. The University of Arizona, Special Collections, hosts the papers of Morris Udall and Stewart Udall. From this collection, you can find an article or speech to discuss in your essay. Read widely before choosing!

For Recommenders

Letters of recommendation should be from individuals who can speak to candidates' leadership, public service, and academic achievements. It is important that references know in which category a candidate is applying, as students may only apply in one of the three scholarship categories (environment, tribal public policy, or Native American health care). The selection committee looks for sustained participation in environmental or tribal activities, assumption of leadership roles and evidence of initiative, service to the community, and coursework or research that complements activities and career goals. References should:

  • Briefly explain to the selection committee in what capacity and context you know the candidate: as a research supervisor, through volunteer or campus activities, professional experience, and for what length of time.
  • Provide concrete evidence of the candidate's leadership and service activities. The most effective examples highlight the candidate in action, as an innovator, activist, leader, volunteer, researcher, or teaching assistant, and convey the candidate's passion, enthusiasm, and dedication to environmental or tribal issues.
  • Give examples of the candidate's personal characteristics. Showing is stronger than telling.
  • Convey the scope of responsibility the candidate has assumed; what impact has his or her actions had?

Format: Letters should be on institutional letterhead and signed, then may be scanned and sent to Christine Overstreet via email, or sent through  interoffice mail in hard copy. Further tips can be found in our Suggestions for Recommendation Writers. References should email their letters to Christine Overstreet to be attached to the candidate's application.

Deadlines: Applications due February 25, 2018. Please note this is the AC campus deadline, slightly before the Udall Foundation deadline, in order to allow us time to review and submit your application.

Udall Foundation website
Udall Scholarship FAQs

Questions? 
Christine Overstreet, Director of Fellowships
212 Converse Hall, 413-542-2536, coverstreet@amherst.edu
Carter McClintock, Fellowships Specialist
213 Converse Hall, 413-542-5079, cmcclintock@amherst.edu                            
Mailing address: Office of Fellowships, Amherst College, Amherst, MA 01002; Fax: 413-542-8555