August 2021 – Undergraduate student
Nadira Mitchell – Navajo Nation
School: University of Arizona
Degree: Natural Resources – Wildlife Conservation
- January 2021-Present Member of the Board of Directors Southern Arizona Regional Science Education Foundation.
- 2020-2021 We R Native Ambassador promoting positive behaviors through social media outreach
- May-Nov 2020 Lead Phone Bank Trainer for Pima County Democratic Party-Gabriella Cazares-Kelly (Tohono O’odham Nation) for Pima County Recorder. Organized and coordinated phone banks and volunteer phone bank training to elect the first Indigenous woman to a county office.
- 2019-2020 Congressional Youth Council Member. District 3 Congressman Raul Grijalva
- Historian 2019-2020, Treasurer 2020-2021 for the University of Arizona American Indian Student Initiatives (AISI) Club
- 2020 Class of United National Indian Tribal Youth (UNITY) 25 under 25 Youth Leaders
- Leadership Summer 2020, Grand Canyon Trust: Place-based advocacy on environmental & social justice
- American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES), University of Arizona Chapter,
- Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement (MESA) Tucson High School: 2016-2017 member; 2017-2018 AZ State Team Captain-National Team member; and 2018-2019 National Team Captain. Keynote Speaker June 22, 2021, at the 2021 National Engineering Design Competition.
As a sophomore studying Natural Resources-Wildlife Conservation, I am interested in the integration of natural resources policy, wildlife and Indigenous land from the Navajo perspective. I hope to combine academics and tenacity to challenge the status quo and engage the community. I chose wildlife conservation because the environment, animals and humans are all interconnected as seen in our Navajo wellness philosophies and creation stories. My passion started early thanks to a supportive mother who taught me that in our Navajo culture we respect all animals. Respect for the natural world has led me to seek out leadership opportunities in conservation and to become an Indigenous advocate and scholar leading our communities.
In high school, I became a Junior Docent with the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum’s Teen Conservation Leadership program to educate diverse visitors about the biodiversity of the Sonoran Desert. My curiosity and questions about wildlife habitats inspired me to conduct conservation research, presenting the results at local-state science fairs, and the American Indian Science & Engineering National conferences. I studied the Just Transition movement to clean energy policy through LeaderShift 2020 from Grand Canyon Trust and advocated through social media while serving as a delegate to Arizona Congressman Raul Grijalva’s Youth Council, I assisted in creating an Indigenous environmental justice club at the University of Arizona and volunteered with a campaign that resulted in the election of the first Indigenous woman to hold elected office in Pima County.
Finally, I was honored to be the first youth appointed to the Southern Arizona Regional Science and Engineering Foundation Board of Directors. These experiences have increased my skills and knowledge to achieve my goal of becoming a Navajo Conservationist, focused on tribal public policies, the impact on the health of the environment, animals, people, and the implications for tribal sovereignty.