WHITERIVER — The Morris K. Udall and Stewart L. Udall Foundation (Udall Foundation) announced the Udall Undergraduate Scholars for 2020 on May 8. Fifty-five recipients were selected from 429 candidates who were nominated by 199 colleges and universities. Grant Lee Real Bird, son of White Mountain Apache Tribal Chairwoman Gwendena Lee-Gatewood, was among the 55 chosen to receive one of the prestigious scholarships.
Real Bird, half White Mountain Apache of the Fort Apache Reservation and half Crow (Apsáalooke), is a graduate of Blue Ridge High School and is majoring in environmental resource management with a certification in wildlife management at Arizona State University. His area of focus is Tribal Public Policy and he plans to help his tribe with various environmental and wildlife challenges that are on the horizon. His hope is to one day create policy plans and programs that will protect the land he was raised on.
“So much excitement ran through my veins when the award committee told me the wonderful news,” expressed Real Bird. “I was so thankful and honored to receive the award, I had to tell my family the good news!”
The Udall Foundation scholarships are merit-based scholarships awarded to students who are interested in either the environment or tribal policy. A 16-member independent review committee selected this year’s scholars on the basis of commitment to careers in the environment, Tribal public policy, or Native health care; leadership potential; record of public service, and academic achievement.
Thirty-seven of the 55 scholars intend to pursue careers related to the environment; 10 Native American/Alaska Native Scholars intend to pursue careers related to tribal public policy; and eight Native American/Alaska Native Scholars intend to pursue careers related to Native health care.
The 2020 Udall Scholars will have the opportunity to connect with one another Aug. 4 – 9 for the annual Udall Scholar Orientation which includes program alumni. They will learn more about the Udall legacy of public service, interact with community leaders in environmental fields and tribal health care, and governance. Each scholar recipient will receive up to $7,000 for the scholar’s junior or senior year of academic study.
The Udall Foundation was established by the U.S. Congress in 1992 as an independent agency to honor Morris K. “Mo” Udall for his 30 years of service in the U.S. House of Representatives for Arizona (1961-1991). His brother Stewart Udall also served in Congress for Southern Arizona (1955-1961) and was appointed by Pres. John F. Kennedy in 1960 as Secretary of Interior. The two brothers worked together on many environmental and Native American initiatives. In 2009 Congress passed legislation adding Stewart Udall to the foundation, renaming it the Morris K. Udall and Stewart L. Udall Foundation.
Since the program began in 1996, the Udall Foundation has awarded 1,733 Udall Scholarships totaling over $8.8 million.