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May 15, 2023

Undergraduate student named MSU's 13th Udall Scholar

Roxy Sprowl is the 13th Udall Scholar to be named from Michigan State University. Sprowl is an Honors College junior majoring in social work in the College of Social Science with minors in race and ethnicity of the United States, and American Indian and Indigenous Studies. She is a member of the Social Science Scholars Program, recipient of the STARR Charitable Foundation Scholarship, and leader in the North American Indigenous Student Organization at MSU.

Roxy Sprowl

Sprowl is one of 55 students from 46 colleges and universities selected as 2023 Udall Scholars. Of those 55 scholars, 37 intend to pursue careers related to the environment; nine Native American/Alaska Native Scholars intend to pursue careers related to Tribal public policy; and nine Native American/Alaska Native Scholars intend to pursue careers related to Native health care. The applicant pool included 384 students nominated by 172 colleges and universities. This year, 55 students were also awarded Honorable Mentions.

Sprowl is passionate about Indigenous child welfare, tribal sovereignty, and Native representation. She plans to pursue a future devoted to preserving Indigenous sovereignty, advancing Indigenous leadership, and advocating for Indigenous youth and communities.

Sprowl is Ojibwe from the Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians and attended Marquette Senior High School in Marquette, Michigan.

“I am extremely honored and grateful to have been named a Udall Scholar for my commitment to serving Indigenous communities, both at Michigan State and beyond,” Sprowl said. “Chi miigwech (thank you) to my university mentors Dr. Emily Sorroche, Dr. Kristin Arola, and Dr. John Waller; my supervisors Lorna Elliott-Egan and Jason Cross; and my Indigenous community and family. Without their endless support and guidance, I would not have the honor of being chosen for this incredible scholarship.”

Kristin Arola, associate professor in the Department of Writing, Rhetoric and Cultures and Emily Sorroche, associate director in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources Office of Diversity Equity and Inclusion, said, “We cannot speak highly enough of Roxy’s character. Take for example that after the acts of violence on campus in February, she immediately sprang into action, calling in the greater Lansing community to donate traditional medicines (tobacco, sweet grass, cedar, and sage) to gather into care packages for Native MSU students. We’ve heard from parents who were beyond grateful knowing their children were in a community that could support and care for them. Roxy has not, and will not, take the credit for this activity but it was her leadership in NAISO that made this happen.”

Department of History Associate Professor and Director of the Social Science Scholars Program John Waller said, “The specifications of the Udall award could have been written to describe Roxy: She is dedicated to the recovery and celebration of Indigenous culture and committed to devoting her life to advancing Indigenous civil rights causes through wise policy. Just as importantly, as a forceful advocate and respectful collaborator, Roxy epitomizes the virtues celebrated by the Udall Foundation: civility in debate, integrity in the defense of principles and consensus in leadership.”

“Roxy is an exceptional scholar who embodies the values of Anishinaabe leadership,” said Christopher P. Long, Dean of the MSU Honors College and of the College of Arts & Letters. “She puts consensus, integrity and civility at the heart of everything she does, and we are thrilled that her outstanding work has been recognized by this well-deserved Udall Scholarship.”

Each Scholarship provides up to $7,000 for eligible academic expenses for the scholar’s junior or senior year of academic study. Since the program’s inception in 1996, the Morris K. Udall and Stewart L. Udall Foundation has awarded 1,898 Udall Scholarships totaling over $9.9 million and 1,279 Honorable Mentions. The 2023 Udall Scholars will connect August 2-6 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.

The National and International Fellowships and Scholarships Office, administered by the Honors College, helps interested undergraduate and graduate students pursue major national and international awards by providing information and direct support throughout the competitive application processes.

This story originally appeared on the NIFS website.

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