Undergraduate Fellowship on Indigenous Environmental Health

Introduction to Indigenous Environmental Health

Are you envisioning a career in medicine, health professions, public health policy or health research with Native American communities? If so, you are invited to apply to this paid UNM undergraduate fellowship. As an Undergraduate Fellow, you will explore important environmental factors influencing health in Native American communities, and share your reflections with UNM peers and the public.

Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis until January 18, 2024.

Fellowship experiences will include:

  • You will meet as a group weekly throughout the Spring 2024 semester. Every other week will include a workshop or structured activity focused on indigenous environmental health, while the remaining weeks will include mentoring, structured peer conversations, and work on student final projects. Spring meetings will be held on most Tuesdays at 5:00 pm, except for holidays and university closures. Most meetings will be held by zoom, though some will be held in-person.
  • You will engage with leaders of Native communities multiple times during the semester to learn perspectives crucial to environmental health research and public policy.
  • You will develop a fellowship reflection project of your own design. The first fellowship session will help you conceptualize and plan your project.  Projects could focus on such topics as (among many others): (1) communicating a specific environmental health topic to the public, (2) communicating the value and effectiveness of Native American leadership in leading environmental health research and advocacy, and in overseeing public policy, (3) creating an overview of ethical health research practices related to environmental health, as defined by Native American leaders and health practitioners, (4) helping non-Native researchers or practitioners learn the importance of Native ways of knowing and/or historical Native research approaches, (5) applying the recently published Indigenous Determinants of Health to environmental health issues. 
  • Additionally, you will have a unique opportunity to participate in a pilot project with the UNM Center for Native American Health to develop a collaborative Zine about the environmental and social risk factors for diabetes.
  • You will present your fellowship reflection project and/or your Zine project at a special session at the UNM Undergraduate Research Opportunities Conference (UROC) on 4/12/24. 

Fellows Compensation and Selection

  1. Twenty students will be selected to participate in the Spring 2024 as Health Research Fellows.
  2. Each student will receive a stipend of $500 ($250 at the beginning of the semester, and $250 at the end).
  3. Any student enrolled full-time (12 credits or more) in a UNM undergraduate degree program is eligible to apply. Undecided students are welcome to participate.  Fellows must remain enrolled full-time throughout the Spring 2024 semester.  Branch campus students are eligible to apply and participate, however some of the weekly meetings will be held in-person in Albuquerque.
  4. Students from all academic disciplines are encouraged to participate. Selection priority will be given to students who are planning a career in medicine, health professions, public health policy or health research, or whose future goals are connected to environmental health research, advocacy or public policy.
  5. We welcome students at all levels of the undergraduate experience, including first-year, sophomore, junior, senior, and will seek to find a balance in our Fellows cohort.
  6. Grade Point Average (GPA) will not be a factor in selecting fellows. However, if you encountered challenges in your educational career that resulted in a GPA lower than you would like, you can describe those challenges on the application form.  In this situation, overcoming adversity would be a strength you could bring to the cohort.
  7. Ideally, student participation will include at least 50% Native American students, in order to leverage the expertise of Native students in providing peer education to non-Native students.
  8. Selection of Health Research Fellows will be based on a wholistic review of student motivation (especially student commitment to serving in Native communities), student readiness to engage in meaningful dialogue, strengths that students bring to the cohort, and student experience with community service and volunteerism. It is important to note that “community service” is defined broadly, and includes caring for aging family members and friends.
  9. To help you prepare a competitive application, we will be holding information and application preparation workshops between October 30 and November 10, 2023. See the schedule and links on the right column of this page.
  10. Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis until January 18, 2024. 

How can this fellowship benefit your career?

  • You will learn the importance and approaches to ethical research, advocacy, and public policy in Native American Environmental Health.
  • You will build peer and professional connections to others who are committed to healthy Native American Communities.
  • You will recognize how to leverage your knowledge and experiences to advocate for health equity at multiple levels and in collaboration with key stakeholders.
  • You will meet Native Community Leaders who are actively engaged in setting public health and research policy.
  • You can list the fellowship on your resume and on applications to graduate schools.

What essay questions will be on the application form?

  • What profession will you pursue? Please describe your career goals, including any plans for graduate school if applicable.  Describe how your future career might include engagement with environmental health and/or Native American communities & individuals.  (2500 character maximum)
  • Please describe any personal and academic strengths you bring to the Fellows cohort. As an undergraduate, it can be difficult to recognize your many strengths.  We encourage you to attend the information and application preparation workshops, where we will help you identify and describe your strengths.  Strengths could include, but are not limited to: growing up as a member of a tribal community; experience conducting or assisting on a research project; familiarity with public policy; video production skills; written communication or public speaking skills; appreciation for working in groups; strong commitment to working in Native communities after college; speaking multiple languages; international education experiences; and many many others! (2500 character maximum). 
  • Please describe your experiences with community engagement, service and/or volunteerism. We encourage you to think broadly when describing your experiences.  You may initially think that caring for a grandparent does not qualify as service, but it absolutely does.  We are interested in learning how you interact with your community, including your extended family.  An experience does not have to be formal (for instance, an internship at a local clinic) to be life-changing.  (2500 character maximum)
  • In 1200 characters or less, summarize why you would like to participate as an Undergraduate Fellow.
  • Additional comments you would like the selection committee to consider. (1000 characters maximum) (optional)


If you have any questions about becoming a Health Research Fellow, please contact Tim Schroeder, Director of the UNM Undergraduate Research, Arts & Design Network, at timschroeder@unm.edu. 

The UNM Undergraduate Fellowship: Introduction to Indigenous Environmental Health & Research is sponsored by the UNM HSC Center for Native American Health. It is supported by leaders from UNM American Indian Student Services, UNM Native American Studies, the Division for Equity and Inclusion, the University College Pre-Health Professions Student Development Program, and the UNM Research, Arts & Design Network


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UNM Undergraduate Fellowship

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Application Preparation Workshops

No registration required.  For each workshop, click on the link to access the zoom meeting.  You may attend as many workshops as you want.

Thursday, November 2, 10:00 am

Monday, November 6, Noon

Wednesday, November 8, 1:00 pm

Friday, November 17, 9:00 am

Wednesday, November 22, 4:00 pm


For more information, please contact Tim Schroeder, URAD Director, at timschroeder@unm.edu