Two Students Chosen for Native American Internship Program

News subtitle

Udall interns gain practical experience with the legislative process in Washington.

Ahnili Johnson-Jennings and Ryann Cornelius
Ahnili Johnson-Jennings ’23, left, and Ryann Cornelius ’23 have been selected for the Udall Program. (Photos by Eli Burakian ’00)

Ryann Cornelius ’23 and Ahnili Johnson-Jennings ’23 are among 11 students representing 10 tribes and 10 universities nationwide who will spend this summer serving as interns in Congress and federal agency offices as recipients of the 2022 Native American Internship Program of the Morris K. Udall and Stewart L. Udall Foundation.

Interns “gain practical experience with the federal legislative process in order to understand firsthand the government-to-government relationship between tribes and the federal government,” according to the program website.

Ryann Cornelius

(Photo by Eli Burakian ’00)

Ryann Cornelius ’23

Native American and Indigenous Studies, Anthropology
Pueblo of Zuni

Cornelius is an Indigenous student peer adviser for the Native American Program and serves on the executive board of Dartmouth’s chapter of the American Indian Science and Engineering Society.

“Receiving the Udall Internship is truly an honor. I am enthusiastic to learn more about contemporary sovereignty and deepen my understanding of federal Indian law and policy, building on all I have learned from Bruce Duthu,” says Cornelius, referring to the Samson Occom Professor of Native American Studies. “His classes sparked a fire that keeps getting brighter the more I learn, even though, at times, I have been frustrated by the state of Indian affairs. From the internship, I hope to learn about Indian health care policy and the gaps within the Indian health care system, and what my role can be in helping address those needs. I plan to attend medical school, specializing in maternal and child health care, and then return home to work within my community’s tribal health clinic.”

Anhili Johnson-Jennings

(Photo by Eli Burakian ’00)

Ahnili Johnson-Jennings ’23

Government, Native American and Indigenous Studies
Quapaw, Sac and Fox, Choctaw, and Miami

Johnson-Jennings serves as social chair for Native Americans at Dartmouth and was co-chair of the 2022 Powwow. She is also a member of the Dartmouth Minority Pre-Law Association.

“The Udall internship means a great deal to me personally,” says Johnson-Jennings. “Driven by my passion and commitment to my communities, who have provided me with community, culture, traditions, and so much more, I strive to be a conduit of information and revitalization for all my tribal communities through my educational and professional goals. The Congressional internship will provide me with the opportunity to gain insights into the workings of the federal government and, in particular, on policies that affect Indian people. I hope that through this internship, I am able to learn ways to better assist the advancement of Indigenous communities’ well-being, assist my tribes in addressing remaining detrimental impacts of colonization, and help to advance reconciliation within the United States through increasing awareness and advancing policy changes.”

The Udall Foundation is an independent executive branch agency named for the late U.S. Rep. Morris Udall, D-Arizona, and his late brother Stewart Udall, who also served in the U.S. House and as Secretary of the Interior during the Kennedy and Johnson administrations.

In addition to the Congressional Internship Program, the Udall Foundation awards scholarships to undergraduates who exemplify “leadership, public service, and a dedication to issues relevant to Native American nations or the environment.” From that program, Cornelius received an honorable mention, along with Jesse Ferraioli ’23 and Jessica Meikle ’23. 

Charlotte Albright