Selection Process

In selecting Udall Scholars, the goals of the Udall Foundation are to:

  • Conduct a fair and independent selection process;
  • Recognize excellence while maintaining regional representation;
  • Reward initiative, perseverance, leadership, and problem-solving;
  • Have a scholar class that is diverse, dynamic, and the next generation of environmental and tribal leaders.

Applications in the environmental category are read by the nominee's "State of Legal Residence" and grouped into six roughly geographical regions. Applications in the tribal public policy, Native health care, and two-year college categories are all read as individual regions. Only complete and eligible applications are considered by the selection committee.

Readers may select one scholar from each state, and may also designate other outstanding nominees in the region as "At Large." Up to two scholars may be chosen from the tribal public policy and health care regions. After all the regions have been read, additional scholars may be selected from the At Large pool.

While there is no "typical" Udall Scholar, most successful applications do the following:

  • Tell a cohesive "story": beginning with the career goal statements, supported by activities, research, jobs/internships, transcripts, letters and the essay;
  • Articulate a career "path" or field (though not necessarily a specific profession);
  • Demonstrate a desire for problem-solving or consensus-building;
  • Illustrate leadership potential.

Scholars are selected on the basis of:

    • Demonstrated commitment to environmental or natural resource issues; OR
    • Demonstrated commitment to tribal public policy*; OR
    • Demonstrated commitment to Native American health care*.

    Commitment is demonstrated through substantial contributions to and participation in one or more of the following: campus activities, research, tribal involvement, community or public service. *Nominees in the categories of tribal public policy OR Native American health care must be Native American or Alaska Native.

  2. Course of study and proposed career likely to lead to position where nominee can make significant contributions to the shaping of either environmental, or tribal public policy, or Native American health care issues, whether through scientific advances, public or political service, or community action.
  3. Leadership, character, desire to make a difference, general well-roundedness.

Rating Form

For more on the selection process and how applications are read, take a look at Insight from a Former Reader, Frequent Problems with Applications, and the Rating Form.

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