Native American Student Spotlights

Native American Student Spotlights

Outstanding Native American Student Awardees, 2021-2022

First-Year Award

Winona Little Owl

Ihankthunwanna Dakhota

I would like to thank my family and friends, especially my mother and sister supporting me this entire year after transferring from Tohono O'odham Community College. I would also like to thank the American Indian Language and Development Institute and NASA. They have helped me find my place here at the university and made me feel like I belong, especially being a young Indian woman who talks Indian and the out-of-place feelings that came from it.  Especially Professor Ofelia Zepeda, phidamayaye! 

Undergraduate Award

Joshua Henry

White Mountain Apache & Navajo

First things first, I’d like to thank my mom, grandma, and great-grandma for their continued support from home as I continue my academic journey. Thank you to everyone with whom I’ve worked, laughed, and studied with. Thank you to ODI and NASA for providing me with a space in which I can collaborate and develop myself as an individual. Also, a big thank you to Denise Morales, Julian Juan, and Nichol LeBeau for your support towards Native Students and the Native community on campus.

Bahti Award - Outstanding Graduating Senior Award

Brendan John Walker


These past four yours have been a journey, a journey that I'm so grateful to have been on. I couldn't have made it without the friends and family back home, as well as the friends and family I made here. I'd like to give the biggest thanks to my mother and father for providing me with vital support to finish my degree, and my sisters for being the extra support I could lean on. I give thanks to my grandparents for showing me the living definition of resilience and inspiring me to go beyond. I'm especially grateful to my tribe for funding my education, to NASA for providing me with a sense of home while here at the UA, and to Dr. Alberta Arviso with the UA College of Veterinary Medicine for the guidance through my veterinary school application. My success is dedicated to you all. Ahe'hee. I look forward to continuing to make you all proud in veterinary school. Bear Down!

Outstanding Graduate Service Award

Esperanza Campos


Thank you, Sofia, for nominating for this award, it totally caught me by surprise, and I am extremely honored. Thank you to my son, Mauricio, for making me come out of my shell and strengthening my passion for advocacy. Thank you, Matt, for supporting me while I studied for the LSAT, listening to me vent about law school, and giving me advice and support as a graduate student. Thank you to my friends in the Native American Law Student Association, you've made law school more bearable. Thank you to all of my friends that I have made at the law school who've helped me stay grounded while we go on this rollercoaster together. Lastly, I want to acknowledge all of the single parents killing it in graduate school and raising their children, I want to tell you all that you are doing great!

Outstanding Graduate Academic Award & Outstanding Graduate Academic Award

William Carson

Ohkay Owingeh

I would like to thank my parents, Margaret and James, for always supporting me and believing in me even when I did not. My mentor and advisor, Dr. Felina Cordova-Marks, is an incredibly driven and kind person who I am lucky to work with as I begin my studies here. Finally, I want to thank my wife, Charlie, because without her love and support, working to obtain my doctorate would not be possible.

Outstanding Graduate Academic Award & Outstanding Graduate Academic Award

Dillon Dobson

Cowlitz Indian Tribe

None of this would have been possible for me were it not for the love and support of my wife, Tania, and our two sons, Leonardo (3 y/o) and Raphael (1 y/o). I dedicate this to them because they are the center of my world. Throughout my academic career, and the pandemic, I couldn't have asked for a more incredible wife, partner, friend, and colleague than Tania. Leo and Rapha were my inspiration, motivation, and perpetual positivity engine - too cute and amazing to ever let me stay in a funk for very long. I'd also like to thank my mother, Jane, my father, Roger, my step-father, Neil, as well as Tania's parents, Felipe and Xochitl, for their tireless support and encouragement. A big náxʷɬqʷulʼas (thank you) also to the Cowlitz Indian Tribe and all of my extended kin for everything.

Outstanding Graduate Service Award & Outstanding Graduate Academic Award

Amber Morning Star Byars

Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma

Yakoke (thank you) to NASA for this wonderful recognition, and to Professor Rob Williams and the entire IPLP community at UArizona Law for their support over the last three years. Yakoke to my sweet family and amazing circle of friends for all your love, support, and encouragement.

Outstanding Undergraduate Award

Dominic Rodriguez

Pascua Yaqui


White Coat Profile: Christopher Danny

A desire to improve the lives of others sparked this first-year student’s interest in medicine

Christopher Danny was born in Tuba City, AZ, and raised in Albuquerque, NM. He attended the University of New Mexico, where he earned a bachelor's degree in biology with a minor in psychology, and later completed a master’s degree in public health. Danny is Navajo and has general interests in family medicine, psychiatry and cardiology. He credits his family as his biggest supporters; they’ve guided, encouraged and supported Danny through the ups and downs as he worked toward medical school.

Meet Christopher Danny