Native American Congressional Internship

Frequently Asked Questions


Who can apply?

Enrolled students OR recent graduates of a two or four-year accredited, non-profit institution of higher education in the United States. Graduate and law students are also eligible. Applicants must have completed at least two years of undergraduate coursework.

How does the Udall Foundation define Native American?

For the purposes of the Internship Program, a Native American or Alaska Native is any individual who is:

  • U.S. citizens and Lawful Permanent Residents who are members of either State- or Federall-recognized Tribes;
  • Descendants of U.S. citizens and Lawful Permanent Residents who are members of either State- or Federally-recognized Tribes;
  • Those considered by the Secretary of the Interior to be an Indian for any purpose; and
  • Alaska Natives.
What kind of documents are required to prove Tribal enrollment or descendancy?

Applicants must submit copies of relevant enrollment forms, cards, and/or descent documentation such as a Certificate of Degree of Indian or Alaska Native Blood. Descendants of enrolled Tribal members must provide proof of their parent's or grandparent's enrollment and birth certificates that demonstrate the applicant's relationship to the enrolled tribal member. Applicants who are members of the First Nations of Canada must submit proof of U.S. permanent residency. Applicants who cannot demonstrate Tribal enrollment and do not have a CDIB should obtain a letter from a Tribal leader to demonstrate their involvement in the Tribal community.

My Tribe does not have Federal recognition. Am I eligible to apply?

Yes, applicants from State-recognized Tribes are eligible for the Udall Internship.

I am not an enrolled member of a State or Federally recognized Tribe. May I still apply?

If you are not currently on your Tribal roll, and do not have a CDIB, you may provide proof of a parent or grandparent's enrollment and copies of birth certificates demonstrating your relationship.

I am Native Hawaiian. Am I eligible for the Internship?

No, at this time Native Hawaiians are not eligible.

How to Apply

I am unable to obtain a reference letter from my Tribal official. What should I do?

If you cannot obtain a letter from your Tribal official or leader, a letter from a Tribal community leader may serve as a substitute.

Which transcripts should I submit with my application?

You should submit transcripts from your current institution, transfer or undergraduate institutions, and any institutions where you took summer courses for college credit. If your transcript lists transfer credits, but no grades, we require transcripts from the transferring institution.

You do not need to submit transcripts for:

  • College courses taken during high school;
  • Summer courses that were not for college credit;
  • Courses for which you did not receive credit at your current institution;
  • College courses taken more than 6 years ago.
  • The Selection Process

    How are Interns selected?

    Applications are reviewed by an independent selection committee.

    The selection committee is composed of recognized professionals who work with Native American students or communities in an academic or leadership capacity. Selection committee members may be affiliated with an institution of higher education, a Tribe, or an organization serving Native American communities. Former Interns have also been members of the selection committee.

    Interns are selected on the basis of:

    • Interest in and commitment to learning about the Federal government;
    • Demonstrated commitment to fields in Tribal public policy through contributions to or participation in one or more of the following: campus activities, community or public service, research;
    • Desire to use the knowledge gained to support their Tribal community.
    What kind of qualities does the selection committee look for?

    A successful applicant will demonstrate:

    • Interest in learning how the Federal government works;
    • Commitment to their Tribal community and/or Indian Country;
    • Awareness of issues and challenges currently facing Indian Country;
    • Knowledge of Morris K. Udall and Stewart L. Udall's legacies with regard to Native Americans;
    • Strong research and writing skills;
    • Organizational abilities and time management skills;
    • Maturity, responsibility, and flexibility.
    What types of degrees and careers do former Interns pursue?

    While many of our Interns have sought degrees in law, public administration and/or public policy, others have pursued degrees in biology, engineering, public health, environmental science, community development and/or planning, economics, communication, political science, psychology, international studies, geography, criminal justice, secondary education, art and photography, architecture, social work, English, anthropology, physics, and business.

    Living and Working in Washington, D.C.

    How does the Foundation arrange placement for Interns?

    The Udall Foundation determines the placement of Interns; Interns do not have the opportunity to choose their own placement office. Some placement opportunities, such as with the Office of Tribal Justice, are available only to law students.

    A variety of factors are taken into account when determining placements, including information provided in the internship application. Each year the Udall Foundation ensures a bipartisan and geographically balanced representation of Member, committee, and Federal agency placements, and strives for a balance between long-standing and new placement opportunities.

    Many Interns are placed with Members and committees who have different political positions than their own. These opportunities offer some of the most rewarding Internship experiences and support the Udall Foundation’s values of nonpartisanship and public service.

    What types of office assignments do Interns typically have?

    Udall Interns have worked in House and Senate Member and committee offices; with Federal agencies such as the Departments of Defense, Interior, and Education; and in the White House. Depending on the individual's skills and abilities and the requirements of th eplacement office, Interns attend hearings and briefings, research legislative issues, and provide general office support.

    What kind of expectations do offices have of Interns?

    All Interns will be expected to contribute to common administrative duties such as handling correspondence and constituent services. You will also have the opportunity to demonstrate your research, writing, and analytical skills. Interns who demonstrate that they are resourceful, manage their time wisely, and complete their tasks on time are usually given more advanced assignments such as attending hearings, writing briefs (summary reports) and white papers, and conducting in-depth research.

    How is housing arranged for Interns?

    Beginning in 2024, Interns will receive an award stipend of $12,500 that covers the cost of travel to and from Washington, D.C.; housing and per diem for the internship program period; and education and miscellaneous expenses. Interns will be responsible for securing their own housing arrangements which could include extended stay hotels, hostels, apartment sub-leases, AirBNB, or other options. Interns can choose to live anywhere within the Washington, D.C. metro area as long as they can commute to their placement office and attend required Intern programming.

    When do I receive the $12,500 award stipend?

    Interns will receive their award stipend after being notified of their selection, and before travel to Washington, D.C. is required.

    Could I begin my internship earlier in May, or continue through August?

    No. Interns must be able to live and work in D.C. for the full ten weeks of the assigned program period.

    Are interns required to stay for the full 10 weeks?


    What if a family situation or emergency makes it necessary for me to leave before the end of my Internship?

    Depending on the type of emergency, you may request a temporary leave of absence during the program. All temporary leave requests must have prior approval from the Udlal Foundation and the Intern's placement office.

    Application Advice

    I applied for the Udall Internship last year but was not selected. How can I improve my chances?

    Ask a trusted advisor or professor for a detailed critique of your application. Does your commitment to Tribal communities, Tribal public policy or Tribal governance shine through in every answer? What are you doing now that demonstrates that commitment? What problems or issues do you hope to find solutions to? How will your educational goals and career plans help you address these issues, and how will the internship help you to achieve your goals?

    Can you give me any advice on the essay?

    The best essays demonstrate a sophisticated and nuanced understanding of Morris K. Udall or Stewart L. Udall's Tribal policy legacy, and clearly relate the chosen topic to your interests and career goals.

    • Research Morris K. Udall's or Stewart L. Udall's Congressional and legislative records in order to select a topic that clearly relates to your field of study, interests, and career goals.
    • Know the topic well. If your topic is the Indian Child Welfare Act, analyze Congressman Udall's legislation in the context of contemporary tribal impacts, and its relevance to current applications of the law.
    • Make the connection. Demonstrate how and why the topic is relevant to you. For example, one applicant analyzed the impact of the Southern Arizona Water Rights Settlement Act on the Tohono O’odham Nation and related the legislation to water rights negotiations within his own tribe.
    How important are grades?

    Grades are less important than demonstrated writing and research ability, involvement in Tribal activities or Native American organizations, community service, and leadership records, but they are still significant. Applicants should generally have at least a 3.0 GPA.

    Are any fields of study given priority?

    No. Interns come from all majors and fields of study. Udall Interns have pursued degrees in law, social work, political science, community and regional planning, sociology, anthropology, Native American studies, Tribal public policy, history, hydrology, engineering, psychology, English, music, and public health, to name just a few areas.