News and Announcements

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - April 12, 2010


Posted: 4/12/2010

UDALL FOUNDATION AWARDS 2010 NATIVE AMERICAN CONGRESSIONAL INTERNSHIPS IN WASHINGTON, D.C.

Terry Bracy, Chair of the Board of Trustees for the Morris K. Udall and Stewart L. Udall Foundation, has announced that 12 students from 11 tribes and nine universities have been selected as 2010 Native American Congressional Interns. They were selected by an independent review committee of nationally recognized Native American educators and tribal policy leaders on the basis of demonstrated commitment to careers in tribal public policy and academic achievement.

This highly regarded internship program is intended to provide Native Americans and Alaska Natives with an insider's view of the federal government. The internship is located in Washington, D.C., and is known for placing Native students in competitive positions in Senate and House offices, committees, Cabinet departments and the White House, where they are able to observe government decision-making processes first-hand.

The Foundation awards approximately 12 Internships every summer on the basis of merit to Native Americans and Alaska Natives who are college juniors or seniors, recent graduates from tribal or four-year colleges, or graduate or law students who have demonstrated an interest in fields related to tribal public policy, such as tribal governance, tribal law, Native American education, Native American health, Native American justice, natural resource protection, cultural preservation and revitalization, and Native American economic development.

The 12 new Udall Interns will complete an intensive, 10-week internship in the summer of 2010. Special enrichment activities will provide opportunities to meet with key decision-makers. Since its inception in 1996, 162 Native American/Alaska Native students from 86 tribes have participated in the program.

The 2010 Native American Congressional Internship class includes:

  • Pete R.G. Coser Jr., a graduate student at the University of Oklahoma-Norman, and a citizen of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation
  • Hunter S. Cox, a junior at Dartmouth College, and a citizen of the Prairie Band of Potawatomi Nation
  • Kimberly A. Cromwell, a law student at the University of Arizona, and a citizen of the White Mountain Apache Tribe of the Fort Apache Reservation
  • Nicholet A. Deschine, a graduate student at Arizona State University, and a citizen of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe of North & South Dakota
  • Cecilia H. Gobin, a senior at the University of Washington, and a citizen of the Tulalip Tribes of the Tulalip Reservation (Cecilia is also a 2008 & 2009 Udall Scholar)
  • Brian J. Howard, a recent graduate of the University of New Mexico, and a citizen of the Gila River Indian Community of the Gila River Indian Reservation
  • Kathryn E. Jones, a recent graduate of Stanford University, and a citizen of the Cherokee Nation
  • Jacob P. LaBuff, a law student at the University of Arizona, and a member of the Coushatta Tribe of Louisiana
  • Heidi L. Macdonald, a law student at the University of New Mexico, and a citizen of the Assiniboine and Sioux Tribes of the Fort Peck Indian Reservation
  • Michael J. Thompson, a law student at the University of Arizona, and a citizen of the Confederated Salish & Kootenai Tribes of the Flathead Reservation
  • Philip H. Tinker, a law student at the University of Tulsa, and a citizen of the Osage Tribe
  • Summer R. Wilkie, a junior at the University of Arkansas-Fayetteville, and a citizen of the Cherokee Nation

About the Udall Foundation

The Udall Foundation is an independent federal agency that was established by Congress in 1992 to provide federally funded scholarships for college students intending to pursue careers related to the environment, as well as to Native American students pursuing tribal policy or health care careers. The Udall Foundation also offers a doctoral fellowship in environmental policy or conflict resolution and operates the Native American Congressional Internship program each summer in Washington, D.C. In 1998, the Foundation grew to include the U.S. Institute for Environmental Conflict Resolution, created by Congress as the federal government’s only program focused entirely on resolving federal environmental disputes. The Foundation also operates the Parks in Focus program, connecting underserved youth to nature through photography.

The Udall Foundation was created initially to honor the legacy of the late Morris Udall, who represented Southern Arizona in the U.S. House of Representatives for 30 years. Stewart Udall, who also represented Southern Arizona in Congress from 1955 to 1961, is Morris Udall’s older brother. The two brothers were leaders in many policy areas, including natural resources and the environment and Native American issues. They worked together on many initiatives while Stewart Udall was Secretary of the Interior and Morris Udall a member of Congress. In 2009, Congress enacted legislation to add Stewart Udall into the foundation, renaming it the Morris K. Udall and Stewart L. Udall Foundation.

For additional information on the Native American Congressional Internship Program, please visit our website at www.udall.gov or contact Jane Curlin at (520) 901-8565 or curlin@udall.gov.

Additional Information on the Udall Interns

Pete RG Coser, Jr. is Mvskoke-Creek, Choctaw, and Chickasaw born in Tahlequah, OK. Pete will graduate in May 2010 with a Masters in Human Relations from the University of Oklahoma, Tulsa Campus. His professional interests include education, policy analysis, research, and social justice advocacy in current political and Native American issues. Coser would like to help Indian Country by strengthening politics, cultural protection, and sovereignty for tribal governments and communities. He is also active among ceremonial Mvskoke-Creek traditions and is a singer with the RedLand (Lakota) and Buffalo Horse (Dakota/Ojibway) drum families. In addition, Coser enjoys playing lacrosse, Oklahoma State sports, reading, family time, and running 5k races.

Hunter Cox is a member of the Prairie Band Potawatomi from Alexandria, VA. Hunter is completing his BA at Dartmouth College with a major in Government and a minor in Hispanic Studies. He hopes to advance Native peoples within the U.S. through a career in policy, NGO work or politics, and expand political and cultural connections among indigenous groups globally. Cox is active in the Dartmouth Outdoors Club, peer advising and Native Americans at Dartmouth during the school year. He maintains ties with his reservation in Kansas and family in Oklahoma, returning for pow-wows and ceremonies.

Kimberly Cromwell is an enrolled member of the White Mountain Apache Tribe. She was raised in Whiteriver, Arizona. She earned her BA in history and Native American studies from Dartmouth College. She is currently pursuing a Juris Doctor certificate in the Indigenous Peoples Law and Policy Program from the University of Arizona’s James E. Rogers College of Law. She hopes to return to her reservation to help strengthen the tribal government and economy. In her free time she enjoys hiking and mountain biking with her husband, Mondo.

Nicholet Deschine, a Standing Rock Sioux and Navajo, received her BS in Family Resources and Human Development from Arizona State University. Nicholet will graduate in May 2010 from ASU with a master’s degree in Social Work, concentrating in Planning, Administration and Community Practice. Deschine’s career interests include tribal policy analysis, public programs administration, or continued education in the following areas: Indian child welfare; Indian education; tribal economic development and sustainable energy; cultural and language revitalization; and the role of Congress in tribal policy. Nicholet and her husband Wayne S. Parkhurst have two daughters. Nicholet enjoys concerts, theatre, traveling, and spending time with family.

Cecilia Gobin, a member of the Tulalip tribes, is currently seeking degrees in American Indian studies and history at the University of Washington. Cecilia plans to attend law school and work towards a career in federal Indian law. Her areas of interest include intellectual property rights, natural resources, and land and water rights. Dedicated to her tribe and community, Gobin actively seeks to protect and advance treaty rights and tribal sovereignty. She is equally committed to carrying on her culture, taking an active part in tribal traditions and ceremonies, and helping to bring her tribe’s culture forward for future generations. Gobin is also a lifetime commercial fisher-woman who enjoys family and cultural gatherings, playing the piano, going to the beach, and attempting to play golf.

Brian Howard is Akimel O’odham, Tohono O’odham, and Pipash from the Gila River Indian Community in Arizona. Brian just graduated from the University of New Mexico in December 2009 with his Bachelor’s Degree in Native American Studies. He plans to apply to the University of Arizona’s M.A. program in American Indian Studies, and the J.D. program for Federal Indian Law next year. He has a particular interest in Indian Water Law and Economic Development for Tribal Communities. This interest was sparked upon conducting a guided research project in the Urban Institute Summer Academy in 2009. Howard wishes to return home and work on these issues to garner more experience before attending graduate and law school. During his spare time, Howard likes to paint gourds and make jewelry.

Katie Jones is a citizen of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma and grew up in San Jose, California. She recently graduated with honors and distinction from Stanford University, where she was involved in the Stanford Powwow, the Cherokee Student Group, and the Stanford American Indian Organization. She has also served on the board of directors for the Indian Health Center of Santa Clara Valley.A fervent believer in the power of education to improve and sustain Native communities, Jones currently teaches fourth grade on the Rosebud Reservation. After teaching, she plans to attend law school and focus on federal Indian law and policy. As a lawyer, she hopes to advocate for tribal interests on a national scale and strengthen the volume and number of Native voices in the decision-making processes that so profoundly affect our communities and ways of life.

Jacob LaBuff is from the small town of Kinder, Louisiana. He is an enrolled member of the Coushatta Tribe of Louisiana, and a member of the Deer Clan. LaBuff is active in his community as a member of the Coushatta Language Committee and a volunteer of the Coushatta Heritage Department. He received a bachelor of arts in history from Louisiana State University in 2008 and began law school at the University of Arizona the same year. Upon receiving his law degree, he plans to practice Indian law with the overall goal of returning home and working for his Tribe.

Heidi L. Macdonald is an enrolled member of the Fort Peck Assiniboine and Sioux Tribes from the Fort Peck Reservation in Montana. Macdonald is currently seeking her Juris Doctorate with an Indian Law Certificate at the University of New Mexico School of Law in Albuquerque, New Mexico. She would like to work with Native American children by representing them in legal proceedings in Tribal and state courts as a Guardian ad Litem. She is actively involved in her urban community by encouraging Native American children to go to college, as well as being committed to giving a voice to children who lack adequate representation in the legal system. She enjoys playing basketball, running, and beading.

Jordan Thompson is a member of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes of the Flathead Reservation in Montana. Thompson grew up in Spokane, WA, and received his BA in political science from the University of Hawai’i at Manoa. He is currently pursuing his law degree with a focus in Indian law from the University of Arizona. Jordan interned for his tribe’s legal department last summer and hopes to return to the Flathead Reservation to support tribal interests and sovereignty. In his free time, Thompson likes to pretend he can keep up with the undergrads while playing intramural sports.

Philip Tinker is an enrolled member of the Osage Nation and a member of the Deer Clan of the Osage people. He is a second year law student at the University of Tulsa College of Law and is pursuing a certificate of specialization in Native American Law. Mr. Tinker is interested in helping to secure and expand the sovereign rights of Indian tribes and in promoting the social well-being of Native American peoples by working for tribal economic development and the development of strong and effective tribal social services programs.

Summer Wilkie is a Cherokee from Baron, Oklahoma. She is currently a junior at the University of Arkansas where she leads a Native American student group on campus. She is actively involved in educating her peers and the community about tribal issues and culture. Wilkie studies civil engineering with an emphasis on sustainability and the conservation of natural resources. After college, she plans to attend graduate school.


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