Nation citizen Jeni Hendricks has been selected as a Udall
intern for the summer, when she will work at the Department
of Justice in Washington, D.C.
(photo courtesy of Dartmouth Admissions)
PAWHUSKA, OK Jeni Hendricks will not be spending her
summer at home this year.
Instead, the Pawhuska native will be in Washington, D.C., as
a Udall intern working for the Department of Justice in its division
of environmental and natural resources.
A citizen of the Cherokee Nation, Hendricks is one of 12 recipients
nationwide for the highly competitive federal internship program
for American Indian and Alaska Native undergraduate, graduate and
law students interested in tribal policy.
"It's a little nerve-wracking, but this has been on my radar
for two years," she said. "I've wanted to do this and knew if it
was meant to be, it was meant to be."
A Native American studies and anthropology junior at Dartmouth
College in Hanover, New Hampshire, Hendricks found out about the
program two years ago while interning for U.S. Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.).
Some of the other interns in the Chickasaw Nation citizen's office
were Udall interns and raved about the program, which also provides
housing assistance, a regular stipend, travel assistance to and
from Washington and an academic scholarship.
To be considered for a spot, Hendricks had to fill out an application,
including an essay on the legacy of the program's namesakes, former
Rep. Morris Udall (D-Arizona) and his brother, former Secretary
of the Interior Stewart Udall.
"The essay is the most important part," she said. "You talk
about your interpretation of their work. That essay is what gets
circulated among the offices to determine who you're matched with."
Hendricks said she does not know yet all of the specifics of
what she will be doing this summer. Among the duties she has already
been appraised of is that she will be sitting in on congressional
hearings on different topics and writing up briefings about those
sessions. She will also be expected to track the progress of certain
pieces of legislation.
With plans to head to law school after Dartmouth and focus on
government-to-government relations, Hendricks said she sees this
as a golden opportunity to get to build relationships with other
Native students with similar aspirations, as well as with more seasoned
"The program's emphasis is on Native policy, but it provides
excellent outlet for networking," she said. "I'm looking forward
to getting to know other Native youth who want to make an impact,
plus networking with different professionals up on the hill."