Nizhoni Hatch (left), Delilah Lopez and Val Quintero-Segura were among the 55 students across the country that were named Udall Scholars in 2023.
Several Colorado State University students were recently honored by one of the country’s top public service scholarship programs.
CSU undergraduates Nizhoni Hatch, Delilah Lopez and Val Quintero-Segura were awarded Udall Undergraduate Scholarships, a prestigious honor recognizing those committed to careers focusing on the environment, tribal public policy and Native American health care.
This marks the ninth consecutive year that a CSU student has been named a Udall Scholar. Since 2015, 14 students have received scholarships from the Udall Foundation. The students were nominated by a selection committee of CSU faculty through the Office for Scholarship and Fellowship Advising.
Each scholarship provides $7,000 for the scholar’s junior or senior year of academic study. A 20-member independent review committee selected this year’s group on the basis of commitment to careers in the environment, Native American public policy or Native health care.
This year, 55 scholars and 55 honorable mentions were selected out of a pool of 384 eligible applicants, with 172 institutions nominating students.
CSU student Kyra Dart received an honorable mention as part of the annual scholarship competition organized by the Morris K. Udall and Stewart L. Udall Foundation. Dart is studying human dimensions of natural resources in the Warner College of Natural Resources.
Hatch, who is studying biomedical sciences in the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, was named a scholar in the Native American health care category. She also was named a Udall Scholar in 2022.
Hatch’s career goals involve providing health services to the Navajo Nation, representing Indigenous peoples in the medical field and conducting public health research that focuses on the health impacts of environmental contamination on tribal lands as a physician.
At CSU, Hatch is part of Assistant Professor Dominique David-Chavez’s Indigenous Land & Data Stewards Lab, which develops and tests models for scientific research and education, informed by Indigenous ways of knowing and community values.
“As a Native woman in science, I hope to develop consensus among Indigenous and Western perspectives to achieve my career goals and make meaningful, significant changes in health care, research and education to centralize Indigenous equity,” she said. “In my future endeavors, I hope to represent the principles of the Udall Foundation and carry on the Udall brothers’
legacy by using civility, integrity and primarily consensus-building in medicine, research and education to advocate for Native Americans’ self-determination and inspire future generations.”
Lopez, who is studying ethnic studies in the College of Liberal Arts, was named a scholar in the tribal public policy category. As an active member of the Fort Collins Native community, Lopez collaborated with other members to write and secure passage of the Fort Collins Indigenous Peoples Day Resolution in 2022.
At CSU, Lopez was involved in the Indigenous Science, Arts, Technology, and Resilience (ISTAR) Camp, created to support Native American youth and families in Fort Collins. As a camp mentor, she gained hands-on experiences and learned methods that center Indigenous education.
Lopez hopes to one day become an educational advocate and leader in Native American communities. She explained that she wants to use her career as an educator in tribal affairs to one day work for the Bureau of Indian Education to help advocate for education and higher education for Native American and Alaskan Native populations.
“My greatest achievement in life will be to inspire my future Native American students to reach for their goals in life and accomplish them,” she said. “I will work hard to bring representation to the educational system for Native Americans and find solutions to the many barriers they face on their academic journey. I want my students to embody the values of integrity, civility and consensus, so that they can further this work I am trying to accomplish by further advocating for education.”
Quintero-Segura, who is studying animal sciences in the College of Agricultural Sciences, was named a scholar in the environment category.
After graduation, Quintero-Segura hopes to pursue nonprofit work in the field of large animal veterinary medicine and sustainable agriculture. She hopes to improve animal welfare, live weight yields, crop yields and the economic status of those living in developing countries.
At CSU, Quintero-Segura helped conduct nutrition experiments on fistulated steers under the guidance of Professor Terry Engle. She also pursued an undergraduate research project in which she is testing whether bovines have voluntary control of their rectal sphincter. She has invented a device that may be able to train cattle to defecate in one location and is working on patenting the design.
“My goal is to transform agricultural practices in the United States and abroad by testing and implementing improved animal welfare techniques and sustainable agricultural practices,” Quintero-Segura said. “I aim to expand my current nonprofit so that it serves as an experimental model for other agriculturalists committed to bettering animal welfare, human-animal interactions and sustainability.”
About the Udall Scholarship program
Established by Congress in 1992 as an independent executive branch agency to honor U.S. Rep. Morris K. Udall, the Udall Foundation awards scholarships, fellowships and internships for study in fields related to the environment and to Native Americans and Alaska Natives in the fields of health care and tribal public policy.
Since the Udall Scholarships were established in 1996, the Udall Foundation has awarded more than 1,600 scholarships totaling more than $8.4 million.
Current CSU undergraduate students interested in applying for a Udall Scholarship can contact Mary Swanson, program director of the Office for Scholarship and Fellowship Advising, at email@example.com.