Chad Brown, a junior forestry major at Northern Arizona University, recently received the Udall Undergraduate Scholarship.

The scholarship, which pays for up to $7,000 in tuition, fees and other expenses, recognizes the academic and community service of college students with a particular focus on issues related to Native American nations and the environment. Brown is one of 50 recipients from 500 nominees selected for the scholarship. He is the first NAU student since 2012 to earn the scholarship.

“As a member of a Pueblo tribe, I learned quickly you always put others before yourself, or as my late grandpa would say in our native language, ‘you do not walk alone,’” Brown wrote. “He would explain to me how we have a community and family to walk with through life, so always think of them.”

Brown plans to become a Society of American Foresters certified forester, a process that includes passing a written exam, continuing education and completing five years of forestry service. He also wants to certify as a silviculturist; silviculture is the practice of controlling the establishment, growth, composition, health and quality of forests and woodlands so they sustainably meet the diverse needs of landowners and society.

In addition to his education, Brown was selected as a student trainee for the Bureau of Indian Affairs TREES Pathway Program, which funded two summer internships with tribes in Montana and Wisconsin. He is an award-winning member of the NAU Logging Team and has worked as a forestry technician and coordinator in Santa Clara Pueblo in New Mexico.

“I hope to become an asset for tribes wanting to manage their forest in a traditional and sustainable manner,” he said. “Becoming educated as a forester is the first step in my long career in forest stewardship.”

Opportunities like these help Native American students reach educational goals while preparing them to be leaders, said Chad Hamill, vice president of the Office of Native American Initiatives at NAU.

“With its focus on providing Native American students with the tools to contribute to American Indian sovereignty and self-determination, the Udall scholarship gives students like Chad a head start in becoming significant change agents in Indian Country,” he said. “We can’t wait to see what Chad will accomplish for tribal communities.”