Biomedical engineering student Sebastian (Sebo) Diaz is among 55 students from 42 colleges and universities who have been selected as 2021 Udall Scholars. A 20-member independent review committee selected this year's group of Udall Scholars on the basis of commitment to careers in the environment, Tribal public policy, or Native health care; leadership potential; record of public service; and academic achievement. The review committee also awarded 55 honorable mentions.
Diaz's undergraduate work is focused on biomedical imaging and optics, and he has worked on developing endoscopes for early ovarian cancer detection and on creating new methods to diagnose lung disease. A member of the Pascua Yaqui Tribe, he has served as president of the American Indian & Indigenous Health Alliance since his first year at the university. In addition, he is an Honors student and the current vice president of the Alpha Omicron Chapter of Zeta Beta Tau.
There were three other recipients at the University of Arizona: Sharia Betsoi, Abigail Kahler and Nadira Sage Mitchell. They all seek to address grand challenges in the areas of Native health care, water resources, and Tribal land management and natural resources policy. The four students represent five colleges, including the Honors College, the Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health, the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, the College of Engineering, and the College of Science.
Each scholarship provides up to $7,000 for the scholar’s junior or senior year. Since the first awards in 1996, the Udall Foundation has awarded 1,788 scholarships totaling over $9.1 million and 1,169 honorable mentions.
The 2021 Udall Scholars will connect August 3-6 for the annual Udall Scholar Orientation to meet one another and program alumni; learn more about the Udall legacy of public service; and interact with community leaders in environmental fields, Tribal health care and governance.
About the Udall Foundation
The Udall Foundation awards scholarships, fellowships and internships for study in fields related to the environment and to Native Americans and Alaska Natives in fields related to health care and Tribal public policy; connects youth from underserved communities to the Nation’s public lands and natural resources to foster greater understanding, appreciation, stewardship, and enjoyment of those lands and resources through photography, positive outdoor experiences, and environmental education through Parks in Focus®; provides funding to the Native Nations Institute for research, education, and outreach on Native American and Alaska Native health care issues and Tribal public policy issues; provides funding to the Udall Center for Studies in Public Policy to conduct policy research and outreach on the environment and related themes; and provides impartial collaboration, consensus-building, and conflict resolution services on a wide range of environmental, natural and cultural resources, Tribal, and public lands issues involving the Federal Government through the John S. McCain III National Center for Environmental Conflict Resolution.