SAVING THE WORLD ONE STORY AT A
TIME... UPDATE ON UDALL FOUNDATION
Udall Foundation alumni are doing amazing things and making a difference across the country and around the
world. We are very proud of our alums and are excited to share some of their success stories below.
As a 2008 Udall Scholar, Kellcee Baker graduated from the University of Minnesota, Morris, in the summer of 2010.
Baker graduated with a B.A. in Psychology, Liberal Arts for the Human Services, American Indian Studies, and an
Area of Concentration in Deaf Identity and Sign Language. During her time at Morris, she was involved in student
government, the Circle of Nations Indian Association, and worked in the Admissions Office.
After graduation, Baker knew that she wanted to spend time between her undergraduate and graduate studies in the
nation's capital. After being involved in WINS (Washington Internships for Native Students) and interning with the
National Library of Medicine in 2008 and then returning to Washington, D.C., in 2010 to work with the Partnership for
Public Service as part of the Truman Foundation's Summer Institute, it seemed only natural that she stay in
Washington, D.C., and participate in a long-term fellowship.
Currently, Baker is a second-year fellow at the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI). She initially started
working at NCAI as a legislative fellow, helping to organize breakout sessions for the economic development team,
drafting letters to congressional staff, developing materials for distribution, and assisting in the planning of a
successful youth summit for over 150 Native youths. At the start of her second year at NCAI, Baker switched to the
External Affairs team, where she assists in preparation, organization, and communication for NCAI's three national
conferences, as well as smaller meetings and summits held around the country. She is also part of the Native Vote
team, where she manages communications with grassroots organizations in order to increase the impact and the protection
of Native Vote.
In the future, she plans on attending graduate school at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, to work towards a
Masters of Education in youth development leadership in preparation for working within Native communities.
Bryan Mercier, a 2003 Udall Intern, is a voice for Pacific Northwest Indian tribes at the Bonneville Power Administration
(BPA). Mercier is Tribal Account Executive for Tribal Affairs at the federal energy agency. BPA works with 46 Indian
tribes and tribal agencies as the Columbia River Intertribal Fish Commission.
Mercier is the liaison between the BPA and Indian communities and advises the agency on tribal issues. In the past, BPA
actions were frequently contested in court. That style has changed, however, and a new comprehensive strategy to protect
Columbia Basin salmon has been developed. Through Memoranda of Agreement, BPA and other federal agencies, tribes, and
states are working on collaborative solutions to their issues.
Mercier also has an advisory role regarding power services that BPA provides to its tribal partners and customers. He also
is involved with training BPA employees about the history of federal Indian policy and the federal government's trust
responsibilities to Native American tribes.
After six years in Washington, D.C., including work in the offices of Sen. Gordon Smith of Oregon, the U.S. Forest
Service, and the U.S. Treasury, Mercier found he was too far from his people and his family, and he returned to Oregon.
Jen Peyser VanHooreweghe
Thanks to the Udall Undergraduate Scholarship, Jen Peyser VanHooreweghe figured out what she wanted to be when she grew
up. A session at the 1999 Scholar Orientation that described the work of the U.S. Institute for Environmental Conflict
Resolution, a program of the Udall Foundation, introduced her to a new field and career.
VanHooreweghe is a Senior Mediator at RESOLVE an independent nonprofit organization that helps community, business,
government, and NGO partners work collaboratively to design innovative, sustainable solutions to natural resources,
environmental, and public health challenges. Her current work includes facilitation of the Public-Private Alliance for
Responsible Minerals Trade—a joint initiative of governments, companies, and civil society to support supply chain
solutions to conflict minerals challenges in the Great Lakes Region of Central Africa—and the Assessment of Standards
and Certification Systems, a multistakeholder analysis of the state of knowledge on sustainability standards and
VanHooreweghe earned her master's degree at M.I.T.'s Department of Urban Studies and Planning, Environmental Policy Group,
where she completed her thesis on public involvement in natural resources management decision making. She holds a Bachelor
of Science in environmental science and a Bachelor of Arts in French from Iowa State University and is a member of Phi
VanHooreweghe was the first Udall Scholar listed on the U.S. Institute's National Roster of Environmental Dispute
Resolution and Consensus Building Professionals; she encourages other scholars to learn more about this aspect of the
Udall Foundation's work and the field of environmental conflict resolution.