Jessalyn Swanson is one of two Washington State University students to receive a prestigious, nationally competitive Udall Undergraduate Scholarship award this spring.

The Udall Foundation awards scholarships to college sophomores and juniors for leadership, public service, and commitment to issues related to Native American nations or to the environment. From 46 institutions a total of 55 Udall scholars were chosen nationwide this year, with 37 in the environmental category, nine in tribal public policy, and nine in Native health care.

Swanson is the fifth Udall recipient in the Native American health care category, bringing WSU’s total of Udall awards to 12 since 2015.

A rising junior and biology/pre-med major minoring in human development, Swanson plans after spring 2025 graduation to study medicine and become a pediatrician or family doctor and provide health care for her rural community. A Native Alaskan and member of the Iñupiaq tribe, she was raised in Kotzebue in the state’s northwest.

“I was raised to believe that I can make a difference as long as I worked for it. My Iñupiaq culture taught me to be strong and resilient and to overcome the obstacles we face every day being an Alaskan Native. My community has pushed and supported me to accomplish all that I have done throughout the years.”

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