Udall Scholarship offers opportunities for Native American and environmental studies students

Madison Carter, News reporter

The Udall Undergraduate Scholarship honors Morris Udall and Stewart Udall, brothers and congressional representatives from Arizona who led environmental reform and Native American initiatives for decades. 

WKU students interested in the scholarship can apply through the WKU Office of Scholar Development located in the Honors College and International Center. Applications are due in January each year. 

College sophomores or juniors showing leadership, public service and commitment to Native American and environmental issues are eligible to apply.


Students who are named Udall Scholars are awarded $7,000 for tuition, housing, books and other educational fees.  

Scholars are also given the opportunity to attend a scholar orientation in Tucson, Arizona for five days, according to the Udall Foundation website

Will Randolph, coordinator for nationally competitive opportunities at OSD, advises students who are interested in applying for scholarships, fellowships and federal internships. He is the advisor for Udall scholarship applicants at WKU. 

The mission of the Udall Undergraduate Scholarship is to provide scholarships to Native American students interested in issues related to tribal policy, Native American students who are interested in pursuing native public health careers and any student interested in environmental stewardship or conservation, Randolph said. 

“Udall requires the approval of a designated faculty or staff representative, so every university that has anybody applying for Udall has to have a representative on campus that the student submits their materials to first,” Randolph said. 

Each university is allowed to nominate up to eight students total, Randolph said. There can be four applicants in the tribal policy and public health category and four applicants in the environmental conservation category. 

In the most recent Udall application cycle, two WKU students applied, Randolph said. 

According to the foundation website, there are 55 scholarships available in 2023. 

“The impact this scholarship is looking to have on students is to ease the burden of the cost of education and allow students to pursue studies and opportunities without a financial barrier,” Randolph said. 

Another substantial impact the scholarship has on students is the distinction and honor that comes with being a Udall scholar, Randolph said. 

“For Native American students interested in public health or in tribal policy, this designation as a Udall scholar can really open career path doors that may otherwise be closed or extremely difficult to pursue,” Randolph said. “That fits with the mission of our office especially, which is why we work with and promote the Udall scholarship.”

Randolph encourages any student who fits the requirements for the Udall scholarship to work with OSD in applying. 

“When students apply through a process like this, it can often be a goal clarifying process where students are having to reflect, think and write down what their passions, drivers and career goals are,” Randolph said. “That carries benefits well beyond just this scholarship application.” 

News reporter Madison Carter can be reached at [email protected].