Two Undergraduates Selected for Udall Foundation Awards

News subtitle

 The program recognizes students for commitment to Native issues and the environment.

Marisa Joseph and Amanda Sun
Marisa Joseph ’24, left, and Amanda Sun ’23 have received awards from the Udall Foundation, which is centered on Native Americans and the environment. (Photo by Katie Lenhart)

Amanda Sun ’23 and Marisa Joseph ’24 have received awards from two prestigious Morris K. Udall and Stewart L. Udall Foundation programs in recognition of their continuing leadership in the areas of natural resources and public lands.

The Udall Foundation supports young scholars committed to assisting Native nations and others in resolving environmental conflicts and encouraging continued use of natural resources in the United States.

Sun was awarded a Udall Undergraduate Scholarship this year, selected from among 384 candidates, nominated by 172 colleges and universities nationwide, based on their leadership potential, record of public service, and academic achievement, as well as their commitment to careers in the environment, Native health care, or tribal policy. 

Amanda Sun
Amanda Sun ’23 (Photo by Katie Lenhart)

Sun, a computer science and environmental studies double major from Sunnyvale, Calif., says her selection as a Udall scholar is an affirmation of her dedication to environmentalism.

“My commitment to the environment is a decision I take every day. It’s a decision to put in the work every day,” she says. “As an Asian-American woman, I don’t see many people who look like me in this field, and receiving this scholarship is validating in that I am on the right track, that there is a space for people like me in this field.”

Sun credits dozens of people from the Dartmouth community for encouraging her. Mentors ranged from Associate Professor of French and Italian Languages and Literatures Lucas Hollister, who supported Sun’s research with the Stanford Existential Risks Initiative where she published a climate dictionary, to Jon Plodzik and the team from Dartmouth Dining who helped her as she worked in development of the Green2Go non-profit, which works with 52 universities across 30 states to implement reusable takeout containers to reduce single-use plastic. 

“My friends at Dartmouth are one of my biggest resources, because we talk about AI, and we talk about climate, and we talk about social justice. That community has been incredibly educational,” she says.

Sun is looking at a possible career in environmental law with a masters or PhD in computer science, using an understanding of machine learning and climate modeling to inform legal and policy initiatives in defense of the environment.

Marisa Joseph ’24, a member of the Tulalip Tribes of Washington, has been selected as a Native American Congressional Intern by the Udall Foundation and Native Nations Institute for Leadership, Management, and Policy at the University of Arizona. 

Marisa Joseph
Marisa Joseph ’24 (Photo by Katie Lenhart)

She will complete an intensive 10-week internship this summer in Washington, D.C., and will participate in special enrichment activities that will provide opportunities to meet with key policymakers.

The Native American and Indigenous Studies major with a minor in government says she is deeply honored to have been selected for the Udall internship. 

“This opportunity emphasizes and recognizes the importance of Native American leadership and representation. I am committed to using this internship to further develop my skills and knowledge of Federal and tribal relations, and ultimately contribute to the betterment of Native American communities,” Joseph says.

“I am excited to work alongside other passionate individuals and respected leaders. This internship is a meaningful step toward realizing my goal of giving back to my community and making a positive impact for future generations.”

Joseph says Bruce Duthu, Samson Occom Professor of Native American and Indigenous Studies, has been an important influence at Dartmouth. 

“I have learned so much from Bruce Duthu’s class on federal Indian law, and this internship will only further build on his teachings and the impacts that policies have on Native communities,” she says.

Joseph plans to attend law school and practice federal Indian law “to protect the well-being of tribal communities and tribal sovereignty,” she says.

In addition, two other Dartmouth undergraduates, Gavin Fry ’25 and Rujuta Pandit ’24, received honorable mentions as finalists for Udall Scholarships.

The Udall scholarship and internship programs honor “the legacies of Morris Udall and Stewart Udall, whose careers had a significant impact on Native American self-governance, health care, and the stewardship of public lands and natural resources,” according to the Udall Foundation website. Both Udalls were members of Congress from Arizona; Stewart Udall also served as U.S. secretary of the interior during the Kennedy administration.

To learn more about how to apply for the Udall and other programs, visit Dartmouth’s Fellowship Advising Office.

Bill Platt