Outstanding Native American Undergraduate Student Award, 2020-2021

May 7, 2021

Aaron Goldtooth

Outstanding Undergraduate Award

Since meeting, I have observed him successfully navigate the challenge of adding astronomy to his majors, and remarkably take charge of his preparation to apply for PhD programs in astrophysics. Connection to indigenous community in the university setting, and a sense that one’s work contributes to the overall wellbeing of the broader tribal community, are strong cultural values that are key factors in retention of Native Americans in higher education. He actively pursues opportunities to give back to his community, which are activities that should be considered part of maintaining his identity as an astronomer and scientist as well as outreach. These are clear demonstrations of grit and resilience, attributes that have enabled him to get to where he is today, and will continue to empower him as he pursues a research career in astrophysics.

- Christina C. Williams

Assistant Research Professor

Department of Astronomy

"This past year has been especially challenging as a student. However, the continuous support and encouragement from my family, friends, and my mentors/academic support staff has helped me to keep pushing and persevering through both the pandemic and classes. As such, I would like to acknowledge and thank everyone who has offered their support and words of encouragement. First, I would like to thank my family for also being there for me and for pushing me to go further. I would also like to thank my many great friends who have always provided positive encouragement and kept in touch during these times of virtual-only contact. I would also like to thank my mentors who have offered their guidance and wisdom. Finally, I would like to thank the staff at the Native American Student Affairs who have been working very hard to provide the best support for us students as well as being there for us always."

- Aaron Goldtooth