Post by Bryan Mercier and Jerilyn Church
Another interesting aspect of the MKU Scholars program is the Native American applicants. Nearly 7% of the applicant pool is Tribal public policy and/or Native health care students. As reviewers of the Native American applicant pool, we approach the review in a slightly different way.
First and foremost, we identify applicants with strong ties to Native communities. Many volunteer in the summer with their Tribe, or work part-time for Native organizations. Whatever the connection, a professional dedication to Native communities is critical to support Mo’s vision of an empowered Indian people.
Secondly, we identify a student’s strong trajectory toward a clearly defined career goal. This is often accomplished through extracurricular activities in their field of study. Students who have the foresight to identify their future careers, tend demonstrate leadership and academic excellence.
Finally, we identify students with a compelling personal story. The “Mo factor” is a common expression around these parts. The stories of personal hardship are numerous in Native communities. A commitment to their careers in tribal public policy or health care despite these hardships is often a defining characteristic of Native Udall Scholars.
We’ve been impressed by the applicant pool this year. We expect to hear more from these names in the future.