The Udall Scholarship is awarded to students who are committed to careers in environmental, tribal public policy or Native health care fields, and who show leadership potential, a strong record of public service and academic achievement. Each scholarship provides up to $7,000 for eligible academic expenses for the scholar’s junior or senior year of academic study.

Hoops, a medical biology major at USD, received the Udall Scholarship in the health care category. Hoops is a member of the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians. She is dedicated to increasing access to health care in underserved communities.

“I feel extremely fortunate that I was chosen for this opportunity,” said Hoops. “It’s important to me that I’m a positive leader and role model on campus, and this award allows me to showcase that.”

Hoops has taken advantage of the research opportunities available to undergraduate students at USD. She spent the summer of 2023 researching metabolism effects on American Bullfrogs in the lab of Jake Kerby, Ph.D., chair of the Department of Biology. She also conducted research on chameleons in Kenya, Africa, with Chris Anderson, Ph.D., associate professor in the Department of Biology.

Hoops is president of the Cultural Wellness Coalition, president of the American Indian Science and Engineering Society, vice-president of the Society for the Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science. She is an intern at the United Church of Christ in Vermillion and a tutor at the Vermillion Middle School. Hoops also works as a certified nursing assistant.

After graduating, Hoops plans to attend medical school.

“I hope that this award allows me to meet new individuals and learn from a diverse range of perspectives,” Hoops said. “Ultimately, I hope I can use this experience to better myself as a leader and future physician.”

The newest class of Udall Scholars was selected from 406 candidates nominated by 192 colleges and universities. Since the program’s inception in 1996, the Udall Foundation has awarded 1,953 Udall Scholarships totaling over $10.360 million and 1,344 honorable mentions.

About the Udall Foundation

The Morris K. Udall Foundation was established by the U.S. Congress in 1992 as an independent executive branch agency to honor Morris K. Udall's lasting impact on this nation’s environment, public lands, and natural resources, and his support of the rights and self-governance of Native Americans and Alaska Natives. In 2009, Congress enacted legislation to also honor Stewart L. Udall for his half century of distinguished national leadership in environmental and Native American policy. The agency is known today as the Morris K. Udall and Stewart L. Udall Foundation (Udall Foundation) and is headquartered in Tucson, Arizona.

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