Mo's Policy Scholars

Mo's Policy Scholars

Get paid $1000 to be mentored by an expert researcher!


mentors & projects

Are you a junior or senior at UArizona interested in being mentored by an experienced research professional?

Do you want to learn how you can impact environmental policy or strengthen Indigenous governance?

Do you want to get paid to learn and further your professional prospects after you graduate?

If you answered “yes” to all three questions, you may be a perfect fit for the Udall Center for Studies in Public Policy’s inaugural cohort of Mo’s Policy Scholars!

What is the Mo's Policy Scholars Program?

Mo's Policy Scholars is a competitive 2.5-month paid mentorship program for 9 UArizona students (juniors & seniors only) who are interested in having an impact on environmental and Indigenous governance policy.

The program is inspired by the legacy of Arizona's longest serving Congressional leader, Morris K. "Mo" Udall.

What do Mo's Policy Scholars do?

If selected, you will be assigned your own mentor from the Udall Center’s pool of UArizona faculty research professionals, each of whom are experts in their field and have extensive research and publishing experience. This is a great opportunity to get real, professional academic experience in your field of study and in policy-adjacent research in general.

For 12 weeks during the fall semester you will earn a $1000 stipend to:

  • Work approximately five hours per week as a program assistant with your mentor.
  • Attend monthly educational meetings (three total) with your Mo’s Policy Scholars Cohort.
  • Complete self-paced learning activities to get acquainted with the work of the Udall Center for Studies in Public Policy and the policy legacy of our namesake, renowned Arizona Congressman Mo Udall.

How do I apply?

Prepare the following application materials:

  • Answers to the following questions in a few sentences (50-100 words each): 
    • What are your academic research interests?
    • How do your academic interests align with environmental policy and/or Indigenous governance?
    • Why are you interested in being mentored by an experienced research professional?
    • Why are you interested in impacting environmental policy or strengthening Indigenous governance?
  • Your current resume / CV
  • The name and email of a professional or academic reference

Finally, you’ll need to review the list of Mentor Projects (below) and select your top five.

Am I qualified?

Applicants must be:

  • A junior or senior undergraduate student at UArizona.
  • Interested in environmental policy and/or Indigenous governance.
  • Eligible to receive $1000 stipend.

Mo's Policy Mentor Projects

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Unveil Environmental Justice Issues

Mentor: Adriana Zuniga-Teran, Assistant Research Professor of Environmental Policy Programs, Udall Center; Assistant Professor, School of Geography, Development and Environment

Help identify real environmental justice issues impacting your community! Mapping qualitative attributes of public spaces at the city scale allows its visualization and differentiation, thereby unveiling environmental justice issues at the community level. We work with K-12 schools to engage middle school students in the qualitative assessment of public spaces in their neighborhoods and analyze how this varies across the city. As an assistant on this project you will work with a school teacher to lead citizen science assessment activities in local parks, public spaces and streets to help students complete research that could have a real, tangible impact on your local community.

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Develop Indigenous Governance Program Curriculum (ONLINE ONLY)

Mentor: Torivio Fodder (TAOS PUEBLO), Indigenous Governance Program Manager, Udall Center/Native Nations Institute

Get hands-on experience in academic programming and curriculum coordination! The Indigenous Governance Program (IGP) stands on the legacy of Morris K. Udall, who championed Native self-determination and Native self-governance throughout his 30 years in Congress. As an IGP Program Assistant, you will have the unique opportunity to engage in the practical development of Indigenous governance curriculum and the chance to participate in one of the most innovative Indigenous education programs in the world. The selected Scholar will meet regularly with the IGP manager, faculty and staff while exploring the link between IGP and Congressman Udall’s legislative vision for Indigenous communities, both in the United States and abroad.

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Analyze Indigenous Data Governance in Research Institutions

Mentor: Ibrahim Garba (KARAI-KARAI), Senior Researcher, Udall Center/Native Nations Institute; Assistant Research Professor, College of Public Health

Play a pivotal role in our world-class Indigenous Data Sovereignty Research! As part of a National Science Foundation (NSF) grant, the Collaboratory for Indigenous Data Governance is analyzing research governance documents (policies, procedures, codes of ethics) from universities and professional societies in several countries to map how these institutions and bodies understand and codify their obligations regarding the stewardship of Indigenous data. The analysis involves two primary researchers independently extracting information from these governance documents and comparing their findings to ensure validity. In your role as a program assistant for this project, in addition to learning about Indigenous data governance, research regulation, and methodologies for policy research, you will play a crucial role in formatting and organizing Excel sheets and other documents used to help the primary researchers compare findings to streamline their research analysis and writing processes.

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Strengthen Tribal Self-Determination (ONLINE ONLY)

Mentor: Miriam Jorgensen, Research Director, Native Nations Institute

Choose your own research adventure and help strengthen tribal sovereignty! Native Nations Institute Research Director Miriam Jorgensen is a top researcher in her field with more than 20 years studying Native nation building in all its forms. She works on a range of Native nation policy issues including child welfare, landback, digital inclusion and the needs of tribal citizens who live off reservation. All of Dr. Jorgensen’s projects focus on ways to strengthen tribal governance, sovereignty and self-determination of Native nations with respect to these topics. As a Program Assistant working with Dr. Jorgensen, you will have the opportunity to choose from among these or other projects available in Fall 2023. The focus of your work in these areas would be on coordinating various research operations including data coding, data analysis and writing policy recommendations.

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Decolonize Data with the Collaboratory for Indigenous Data Governance

Mentor: Stephanie Russo Carroll (AHTNA), Acting Director, Udall Center; Assistant Research Professor, Native Nations Institute/Udall Center; Associate Director and Manager, Tribal Health Program; Assistant Professor, Public Health and American Indian Studies Graduate Program, College of Public Health; Affiliate Faculty, College of Law

Work with the top scholar on Indigenous Data Sovereignty in the United States as a mentee of Dr. Stephanie Russo Carroll! Dr. Carroll is a founding member and leader of the Collaboratory for Indigenous Data Governance, which works on a range of Indigenous data policy issues including data law and policy and decolonizing/ Indigenizing data across a broad range of topics like human health, the environment, and law. All projects focus on ways to strengthen Indigenous governance, sovereignty and the self-determination of Indigenous Peoples in relation to data about them as individuals and collectives, about their governments, and about their non-human relations (such as water, fish, land, and more). The focus of a Mo’s Policy Scholar in this area would be on formatting and organizing documents, analyzing data, and writing policy recommendations for a topic that is building international momentum in policy and academia right now!

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Make a Direct Impact on Native Nations

Mentor: Joan Timeche (HOPI), Executive Director, Native Nations Institute

Are you interested in or planning to work with Indigenous communities? Consider joining the Native Nations Institute (NNI) Tribal & Direct Services (TDS) Team to coordinate educational and service-based events for Native nations and Peoples. NNI’s TDS team delivers Nation Building seminars directly to Native citizens and leadership through direct contracts with Native nations, the Tribal Professional Cohort quarterly seminars and more. Your role as a Program Assistant will involve helping with project planning, event promotion, recruitment, logistics, gathering information, curricular content preparation for seminars, participation in seminars (where allowed/feasible), etc., which means you’ll get direct exposure to working with tribal governments and their communities from a top-tier organization in this area.

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Work on the Cutting Edge of Clean Energy + Agriculture

Mentor: Andrea Gerlak, Director, Udall Center; Research Professor, Environmental Policy Programs, Udall Center; Professor, School of Geography, Development and Environment

Work on a $1.2M-dollar research project to help shape the future of agrivoltaics! Agrivoltaics refers to the simultaneous use of land for growing crops and collecting solar energy. When plants are grown in the shade provided by solar panels, agriculture can flourish in previously underdeveloped spaces while solar installations benefit from the cooling effect of plant life. This project involves coordinating with a larger team working on agrivoltaics in Arizona. As a Program Assistant under Dr. Gerlak, you will participate in innovative research on renewable energy that also touches on agriculture development and practices, as well as recent water constraints in Arizona. Your work will also involve engaging with stakeholders in these sectors to better understand challenges and opportunities for the deployment of agrivoltaics in Arizona.

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Conserve Migratory Species Across International Borders

Mentor: Laura López-Hoffman, Research Professor, Environmental Policy Programs, Udall Center; Professor, School of Natural Natural Resources and the Environment; Affiliated Faculty, James E. Rogers College of Law

Help protect migratory species across borders by helping researchers understand what has led to the current state of conservation policy! The National Science Foundation-funded EMIGRA Project examines what factors led to current governance of North American migratory species and how rural/local/Indigenous communities interact with and value the species and ecosystem services certain animals provide humans. The goal of this international, multi-disciplinary team of scientists and student researchers (spanning conservation biology, ecology, geography, political ecology, social anthropology and economics) is to produce principles for equitable and sustainable governance of migratory species. As a Program Assistant, you will be a key team member as you work to collect foundational data via archival research (in English and Spanish) on migratory species conservation, attend regular team meetings and biannual science communication training workshops and receive high-level professional mentorship from members of the Laura López-Hoffman Lab.

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Mitigate the Negative Health Effects of Increased Heat

Mentor: Ladd Keith, Faculty Research Associate, Environmental Policy Programs, Udall Center; Assistant Professor in the School of Landscape Architecture and Planning

Join a nationally-renowned heat scientist in his efforts to reduce the negative health effects of rising temperatures! Heat is the number one weather-related cause of death in the U.S. and is an increasing risk, particularly for marginalized communities, due to climate change and the urban heat island effect. Despite this, heat policy and governance are less developed than policies and governance for climate hazards such as drought, flooding, sea level rise, and wildfire. As a Program Assistant under Dr. Keith, you will have the unique opportunity to explore the emerging area of heat policy and governance in the U.S. through work with an interdisciplinary research team on a variety of research projects and other engagement opportunities that reach stakeholders at the local, national and international levels.