In a first, two UO students earn prestigious Udall scholarships

Two UO students have been awarded prestigious Udall Undergraduate Scholarships, a first for the university and all the more rare because it is the second award for one of the Ducks.

Temerity Bauer, a junior biology major and Clark Honors College student, received the highly competitive award for her work in health care, and Eloise Navarro, a sophomore Latin American studies and global studies major, was recognized for her focus on the environment. Udall scholarships recognize students for their service to Native American nations or for stewardship of the environment.

This is the first time two UO students have received this award during the same academic year, and it’s the first time a student has been recognized twice. Bauer also received a Udall last year for her plans to research urgent health issues that affect tribal peoples.

Bauer is a citizen of the Round Valley Indian Tribes in Covelo, California. Navarro is a Filipino and Irish-American woman who grew up in a Spanish immersion community in Corvallis.

“In my 17 years as a Udall university representative at two different institutions, I have never seen a university have two winners, with one as a double winner,” said Jason Younker, assistant vice president and adviser to the president on sovereignty and government-to-government relations. “I am extremely proud of Eloise and Temerity, as they reflect the outstanding quality of scholars that we have at the UO. Both are most deserving of this highly competitive and prestigious national award.”

Bauer’s academic and career goals are motivated by her desire to tackle health issues that plague her tribe and other Native communities around the country. She explains that her tribe in California is a cancer cluster, likely due to its proximity to a lumber mill that she believes could be connected to a high volume of waste products in the air and a high rate of disease.

She wants to pursue a doctorate of medicine and philosophy so she can research how things like pollution and stressful environments can alter the brain and lead to disease and neurological disorders. And she wants to use her findings and medical knowledge to help diagnose patients early and provide specialized care for indigenous people.

“Reservations across the country are facing similar problems due to the exploitation of Native land by large corporations,” Bauer explained in her application for this award. “I want to become a physician scientist to help my people and Native communities nationwide combat the various health issues they face.”

As an undergraduate student, Bauer has done a lot of work that overlaps with health care, science and Native issues. She’s conducted neuroscience research in professor Santiago Jamarillo’s lab through the Institute of Neuroscience and she’s studied the forced sterilization of Native women. She serves as a co-director of the Native American Student Union, where she focuses on creating support for Native students in STEM.

And she’s volunteered at the UO Health Center and also served on the Mayo Clinic Native American Pathways Program, where she learned about how to address disparities in health care for Native communities.

“Native American communities have lost trust in health care due to the mistreatment and horrors that occurred in history, including the forced sterilization of Native American women in the ’70s,” Bauer wrote. “I want to help bridge the gap between Native Americans and healthcare and try to reestablish trust in the healthcare system.”

Navarro wants to focus her future work on tackling climate change through fossil fuel disinvestment, renewable energy sources and fostering effective local environmental management practices. She hopes to join, and eventually form, an organization that addresses the effects of climate change while considering its intersection with social justice and human rights.

She’s studied how tourism at Machu Picchu in Peru has hurt the environment and indigenous communities and is interested in examining how pipelines and the fossil fuel industry have taken a toll on indigenous communities and land. Navarro is also a member of the Climate Justice League and has worked on a Forest Defense campaign to protect forests in the Northwest.

In summer 2020, she interned with the Corvallis Environmental Center to help a small farm produce thousands of pounds of food that was donated to individuals experiencing hunger.

“Working through and solving problems in a sensitive, comprehensive, and ethical way is extremely important in activism and grassroots organizing,” Navarro wrote in her application. “Environmental organizations largely deal with interdisciplinary issues and I want to be prepared to approach related challenges in an effective and peace-oriented manner.”

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 Emily Halnon, University Communications