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Dartmouth College Office of Public Affairs • Press Release
(Article written by Linzi Sheldon '07, Whitney Campbell Undergraduate Intern, Dartmouth Public Affairs Office)
Dartmouth sophomore Samuel Kohn is one of 80 national winners of a 2007 Morris K. Udall scholarship. Kohn, a member of the Crow Tribe from Dunmore, Montana, has been developing a passion for tribal policy and education since high school.
The Morris K. Udall Scholarships were first awarded in 1996 to celebrate the late Congressman Udall's legacy of public service. His work as a U.S. Representative for Arizona from 1961-91 was highlighted by his love for the environment and his championing of the rights of Native Americans and Alaska Natives.
Despite being only one of 20 sophomores to be honored with the award, Kohn was humble about his win.
"It's a tremendous honor. I just hope I can live up to the program's expectations," Kohn said. "I'm just an average student from Montana."
But Kohn has proven himself anything but average in his commitment to tribal policy, specifically tribal education. In a Dartmouth First-Year Summer Research Project, he examined the "Indian Education for All" act in Montana, which aims to teach Montana's K-12 students about the history and culture of Native Americans.
Kohn estimates he drove over 7000 miles back and forth across Montana interviewing members of the state's eight tribes—trips, he said, that helped him learn more about the curriculum and the changes that still have to occur.
At Dartmouth, Kohn plans to pursue a Presidential Scholars position and thesis work in tribal education. He emphasized the importance of educating all Americans about tribal issues.
"Ignorance abounds in the U.S. today and I think education is the best way to combat that," he said. "I know too much to not care. I'm too aware of the issues to walk away and not be responsible for the negative things that happen."
In addition to receiving a $5,000 scholarship, Kohn will participate in a five-day conference in Tucson, Arizona, where the 2007 Udall scholars will meet policy-makers and leaders in environmental fields and in tribal health care and policy.
With an overarching goal of bettering the lives of tribal members, Kohn aspires to pursue politics as a state representative or through positions in the Bureau of Indian Affairs or Department of Education. With leadership roles in the Native Americans at Dartmouth, Kohn demonstrated the leadership potential crucial to winning a Udall scholarship.
The winning students were also selected on the basis of their character, desire to make a difference, academic achievement, and their commitment to careers in the environment, health care or tribal public policy. Kohn is one of six Native American/Alaska Native scholars pursuing a career in tribal policy.
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