For the fifth time in the Udall Foundation's 20-year history, a University of Oregon student has been awarded the highly competitive national Udall Undergraduate Scholarship.
Temerity Bauer, a sophomore biology major and Clark Honors College student, is the second American Indian/Alaska Native to win a Udall and the third UO recipient in the last six years.
That the honor landed with another UO student is significant, said Jason Younker, assistant vice president and advisor to the president on sovereignty and government to government relations.
“The Morris K. Udall Fellowship has one of the most rigorous applications and is highly competitive," he said. "Temerity is exceptionally determined to find a way to serve her home community, the Round Valley Indian Tribes, as they have a high concentration of cancer. This resonated with all levels of the Udall selection process. We are extremely excited for Temerity, her family and her tribe.”
Mark Carey, a professor of history and environmental studies, encouraged her to apply for the scholarship, noting that Bauer, also a 2018 Stamps Scholar, had expressed an interest in researching extremely urgent issues affecting tribal peoples and tribal health in particular.
"Temerity is exactly the kind of student who will thrive with a Udall Scholarship, turning it into something magnificent on her own while contributing to, inspiring and being an excellent team player with the other Udall scholars," Carey said.
Bauer is currently one of the four co-directors of the UO Native American Student Union, and her past research has focused on, among other things, forced sterilization of Native American women.
"Her planned future work in biomedical research as well as international comparative work on indigenous people's cultural and colonial histories is highly relevant for the Udall Scholarship specifically and for society in general," Carey said.
The Udall Foundation notified Bauer by email, which was followed by a phone call from President Michael H. Schill with his congratulations.
"Reading the words, ‘Congratulations Udall Scholar’ still feels like a dream," Bauer said. "I feel so lucky and incredibly thankful for my letters of recommendation and all of the amazing opportunities I have had at the UO. Furthermore, I feel empowered and even more determined to follow my dreams. I also really want to thank my parents for always supporting me. "
Working in professor Santiago Jaramillo's lab at the UO Institute of Neuroscience, Bauer analyzed behavioral data from a project that studies speech-sound learning using mice, learning that mice can reliably learn to discriminate human speech sounds, opening new avenues for investigating the neural mechanisms of speech learning.
She presented her results at the Society for Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science and will become a co-author in publications based on her work.
The Udall fellowship includes access to the Udall Alumni Network, an association of change-makers working in Indian country and environmental fields; an invitation to the scholar orientation in Tucson, Arizona, this summer; and up to $7,000 for eligible academic expenses.
Bauer said she has many people to thank for their encouragement and guidance in her time at the UO.
"Katie Staton, the longhouse steward at the University of Oregon, and Dr. Younker both met me on Zoom and waved pompoms to congratulate me as well," she said. "My little sister, Scout, and I watched movies and relaxed after such an exciting day. I really have the most supportive family at home and at the University of Oregon."
She is looking forward to continuing work in Jaramillo’s neuroscience lab on her new project studying pupillary dilation responses to speech sounds, as well as hopefully studying abroad.
"Next summer, I will be performing research at Harvard Medical School and shadowing doctors at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital through the Four Directions Summer Research Program," she said.
The Udall scholarship honors the legacies of Arizona brothers and former members of Congress Morris Udall and Stewart Udall, who also served as secretary of the interior from 1961 to 1969 under presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson. Both Udalls had careers that had a significant impact on Native American self-governance, health care and the stewardship of public lands and natural resources, according to the foundation's website.
—By Laurie Notaro, Clark Honors College