VERMILLION, S.D. -- Tamee Livermont, a University of South Dakota medical biology major, was awarded a Udall scholarship based on her interest in becoming a neonatologist serving Native American newborn infants and their mothers.
Livermont is a member of the Oglala Sioux Tribe from Martin, South Dakota, on the Pine Ridge Reservation. “Where I grew up, I saw mothers using drugs and alcohol while they were pregnant and I could see the effect this had on their children, who were born addicted,” she said. “I feel as a neonatologist, I could be a first line of defense for those babies.”
In addition to working as a medical specialist in an Indian Health Service hospital or in a location with a large Native American population, Livermont, who will be a senior at USD this fall, also plans to use her education and background to counter drug and alcohol abuse through prevention education programs. “I want to do something that will make a difference,” she said.
This summer, Livermont is researching methamphetamine addiction in the laboratory of Lisa McFadden, Ph.D., assistant professor of basic biomedical sciences. Livermont is also a member of the American Indian Science and Engineering Society, the USD Medical Biology Club and various other groups on campus.
She is one of 60 students from 49 colleges and universities chosen for the Udall scholarships that provide up to $7,000 for the scholar’s junior or senior year. The Udall Foundation selects recipients based on their commitment to careers in the environment, American Indian health care or tribal public policy; leadership potential; record of public service; and academic achievement. The scholars were selected from 482 candidates nominated by 227 colleges and universities.