Marianna Cota Receives Udall Honorable Mention

June 17, 2021
Marianna Cota, class of 2022, was named honorable mention from the Udall Foundation.
Marianna Cota, class of 2022, was named honorable mention from the Udall Foundation.

Grinnell College student Marianna Cota ’22 was presented an honorable mention for the Udall Undergraduate Scholarship from the Morris K. Udall and Stewart L. Udall Foundation. The Udall Foundation awards scholarships and special honors to college sophomores and juniors for study in fields related to the environment and to Native Americans and Alaska Natives in fields related to health care and tribal public policy.

Marianna Cota, a biology major from Jacksonville, North Carolina, seeks to uplift multi-sectoral public health efforts, particularly those related to mental health and substance use disorders, that support the health and wellbeing of Native peoples in a culturally competent and holistic manner through her career. Following graduation from Grinnell in May 2022, she will pursue a Master of Public Health in Community and Behavioral Health at the University of Iowa and then secure a position as a program consultant or health communication fellow with the Pascua Yaqui Tribe Health Department. Cota’s long-term goal is to serve as an educator and program director for the Urban Indian Health Institute or the Inter Tribal Council of Arizona Tribal Epidemiology Center.

“It is an honor to be recognized by the Udall Foundation, and I am excited to become a part of a network of dedicated individuals passionate about improving the environment and conditions for Indigenous communities,” said Cota. “I would not have had this opportunity without the support of my advisers and mentors throughout my life, who have provided me with endless guidance and inspiration.”

Cota, a Questbridge Scholar, is conducting a summer 2021 Mentored Advanced Project researching the environmental and public health benefits of trees, as well as green spaces and natural landscapes, on the Grinnell College campus. In addition, she is a participant with the Traditions and Connections for Urban Native Americans twelve-month study project on opioid misuse and culturally appropriate education for American Indian/Alaska Native urban communities.

She is starting her third year as a student assistant for the Grinnell Science Project and served as secretary and now vice-president for the One Health Student Group at the University of Iowa. Cota was a spring semester 2021 wildlife rehabilitation intern at Possumwood Acres Wildlife Sanctuary in Hubert, NC, where she had been volunteering for several years. In 2017, she was a Borlaug Scholar with the World Food Prize Youth Institutes.

About the Undall Undergraduate Scholarship Program

The Udall Undergraduate Scholarship honors the legacies of the Udall brothers, whose careers had a significant impact on American Indian and Alaska Native self-governance, health care, and the stewardship of public lands and natural resources. It is awarded for leadership, public service, and commitment to issues related to the environment, health care, and tribal public policy.

In 2021, they awarded 55 Udall Scholarships and 55 honorable mentions from 416 candidates nominated by 187 colleges and universities. Since the inception of the program in 1996 the Udall Foundation has awarded 1,788 Udall Scholarships and 1,169 honorable mentions. For more information about applying for the Udall Scholarship contact Ann Landstrom, fellowships and awards advisor, at

We use cookies to enable essential services and functionality on our site, enhance your user experience, provide better service through personalized content, collect data on how visitors interact with our site, and enable advertising services.

To accept the use of cookies and continue on to the site, click "I Agree." For more information about our use of cookies and how to opt out, please refer to our website privacy policy.