By Hanh Quach
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Students majoring in environmental and natural sciences or focusing on Native American affairs can shoot for one of the 55 undergraduate scholarships offered by the Morris K. Udall Foundation next spring, said it's director.
"We hope to train a new generation of environmental professionals who, like Mo Udall, will have strong academic credentials as well as political savvy," said Morris K. Udall Foundation Chair, Terrence L. Bracy, in a prepared statement.
Students applying for the scholarship need at last a 3.0 grade point average and hold a ranking within the top 25 percent of their class. The foundation generally targets the study of environmental engineering, natural sciences and resource management, social sciences, and Native American public affairs. Native American and Alaskan natives majoring in public service on the reservations are encouraged to apply.
The Morris K. Udall Foundation, formally established in Tucson in May, will sponsor its first internship program next June. Native American tribes will choose ten nominees to attend a six-week program where juniors, seniors and graduate students will learn how the government operates, said Christopher Helms, director of the foundation since May. Helms added that he hopes "the students will also educate the congressional staff about Native Americans."
Helms said, the program is the first formally-organized summer congressional internship for Native Americans.
Since the foundation is congressionally mandated, 50 percent of its annual budget is pulled from interest collected from a $20 million fund from the government. These funds are used for scholarships, internships and fellowships.
The mandate also allocates another 20 percent of the annual budget to complement programs carried out by the UA's Udall Center for Studies in Public Policy.
Environmental conflict resolution, a priority among these programs, seeks to identify critical environmental issues and have program members resolve the problem, Helms said, "like Mo, who was known for his expertise in getting people on opposing sides together to find a solution."
The Udall Center is working on a proposal to be submitted to the foundation soon, which details the Jan. 1 program for six months of activities in environmental conflict resolution, said Robert Varady, associate director of the Udall Center.
The federal bill also names the presentation of a national conference as a second priority that will explore an important theme relating to environmental policy or Native American Affairs, Varady said.
The first conference in March, will address trans-border environmental issues, specifically within the U.S.-Mexico border region, regarding health and environmental policies, Varady said.
The Udall Center, named after the entire Udall family, intends to continue their legacy in publicity, excellence and creativity in environmental policy and valuing the environment as an element in the quality of life, Varady said.
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