Elayna Locklear, a sophomore at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and member of the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina, has been awarded the Udall scholarship to help her pursue a career in osteopathic medicine to treat Native and minority populations in underserved areas. Sophomore Brooke Bauman has also been recognized with an honorable mention. Established by Congress in 1992, the Udall Foundation awards scholarships, fellowships and internships for environmental study and for Native Americans and Alaska Natives in fields related to health care and tribal public policy.
Locklear is UNC-Chapel Hill’s second American Indian Udall scholar in the area of tribal public policy and Native health care and one of 55 Udall scholars nationwide for 2019. The recipients were chosen from among 443 candidates nominated by 227 colleges and universities. Locklear brings the overall number of Udall Scholarships awarded to Carolina students to 16 since their establishment in 1996. The award will cover up to $7,000 of tuition, books, room and board for Locklear’s junior year.
“It is an honor and, above all, a blessing to be chosen to receive this distinguished award,” Locklear said. “As an American Indian, living and working in my home community, I have seen firsthand the need for healthcare professionals who will provide a holistic approach in targeting the prevalent illnesses among our people. Through my time at Carolina I have learned that it is not about what I accomplish, but it is more about what I can give through my accomplishments.”
Locklear, from Pembroke, aspires to use her background in exercise science to attend a school of osteopathic medicine with the goal of returning to Robeson County to work with populations affected by tremendous rates of diabetes, heart disease and opioid abuse. She hopes to implement alternative medicinal practices that may better target the specific needs of these communities and open the door for more methods of preventive care.
As a certified emergency medical technician, Locklear already has experience in the health care field. As an orientation leader for incoming Carolina students, a UNC Admissions Ambassador and vice president of Alpha Pi Omega sorority, she has also been deeply involved in community outreach and mentorship.
“When we say Carolina is passionately public it is because of standout students like Elayna who engage in public service activities on campus and in our local communities,” said Interim Chancellor Kevin M. Guskiewicz. “Elayna plans to use her education and skills to provide medical care to underserved Native and minority communities. Thanks to this Udall Scholarship opportunity – combined with her entrepreneurial drive and dedication to helping others – I have no doubt we will continue to hear about Elayna’s accomplishments that are focused on people and communities in need.”
While at UNC-Chapel Hill, Locklear received the Carolina Native Service Scholars Award for service and leadership in a North Carolina Native community, the Lumbee Tribal Scholarship, the Hayden B. Renwick Academic Achievement Award and the American Indian College Fund Full Circle Scholarship. She has also been an active member of the Carolina Indian Circle.
Bauman, from Chapel Hill, is a member of Honors Carolina and aspires to use her background in environmental science to receive a master’s degree in climate science or environmental journalism. Her goal is to work for a government agency like the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to develop data visualizations and approachable communications related to climate change. She hopes to facilitate communication between environmental advocates and the general population to increase public engagement in science and sustainability.
As a former investigative reporter and staff writer for The Daily Tar Heel, a co-chair for the Student Environmental Action Coalition and creator of the podcast “Guilty Plastics,” Bauman already has experience in environmental communication. She has also worked in professor Glenn Morrison’s environmental health science lab and has used her role as committee leader in Epsilon Eta, an environmental honors fraternity, to spearhead a variety of community activities including efforts to help local businesses to become more sustainable.
Professor Inger Brodey, director of the Office of Distinguished Scholarships said, “I am delighted that Elayna will be UNC-Chapel Hill’s second Udall Scholar in tribal public policy and Native American health care and that Brooke Bauman received honorable mention in the environmental sector. Elayna hopes to help with some of the most difficult medical problems faced by impoverished communities, such as the opioid crisis. Brooke will continue using her journalism to help teach others about our most pressing environmental concerns. I feel confident that they will both continue in the tradition of public service that they have demonstrated so well during their time at Carolina.”