Golf Tourney:

PO Box 15004, Flagstaff, AZ 86011-5004
Phone: (928) 523-9555
Fax: (928) 523-1266

ITEP Golf Tourney: Scholarship

The Virgil Masayesva Native American Environmental Education Scholarship Fund:

Virgil Masayesva Virgil Masayesva was co-founder of the Institute for Tribal Environmental Professionals (ITEP) at Northern Arizona University, and actively involved in the development of ITEP's tribal air quality training programs, including the American Indian Air Quality Training Program, the Tribal Air Monitoring Support Center and many other programs dedicated to the protection and preservation of tribal cultures and sovereignty.

A graduate of both the University of Arizona (B.S.) and Arizona State University, Virgil received his Masters degree in Public Administration with an emphasis in regional planning, and has also completed post-graduate studies in public health policy while at Arizona State. He devoted his professional career to working with Indian tribes on various policy and development issues related to education, health, economic development and the environment. He received national and international recognition for his leadership and outstanding contributions to Native peoples and the protection of indigenous cultures.

Born in 1948 in Hotevilla, Arizona, Mr. Masayesva was a member of the Hopi Tribe and a decorated Vietnam veteran. From 1990 to 1992, he served as special assistant to then-NAU President Eugene Hughes. He also served as Acting Director and Program Director for the Hopi Tribe from 1974 to 1976. Prior to his employment at NAU, Mr. Masayesva worked with Phoenix Area Indian Health Service, Indian Development District of Arizona, Inc., ACKCO, Inc, and the Arizona Commission on Indian Affairs.

Scholarship Recipients:

2015 – Mariah Tanay Ashley
Mariah Tanay Ashley Mariah is a member of the Navajo Nation from Chichiltah, New Mexico. She graduated high school in 2010 from Santa Rita in Tucson, Arizona. She then attended Dine’ College in Tsaile, Arizona and received an Associate of Science (A.S.) Degree in 2013. From there she transferred to Northern Arizona University where she is currently attending and studying Environmental Science with a Geology emphasis. She aspires to graduate in spring of 2016.

Mariah has been involved in numerous community outreach programs such as the Land Grant Office in Tsaile, Shonto Energy Corporation in Kayenta and Rez Refuge in Fort Defiance, Arizona. Among these community involvements, Mariah stresses the importance of cultural significance and environmental sustainability. She believes that incorporating indigenous cultural knowledge with western scientific methods is key to combating today’s environmental issues. Her long-term goal includes returning to the Navajo Nation to help the people and her community create a more sustainable environment for future generations.

Currently, Mariah is a part of NAU’s Remote Sensing and Geoinformatics Lab mentored by Dr. Temuulen “Teki” Sankey. She’s funded through the National Science Foundation (NSF), Undergraduate Research and Mentoring (URM) Program. Much of Mariah’s work has focused on Landsat image processing for snow distribution analysis, Geospatial Information Systems (GIS), and working with the United States Geological Survey (USGS) in studying erosion rates in the Grand Canyon. Mariah also performs field measurements for the lab’s research projects, while learning and gaining valuable experience with geospatial techniques. Upon graduation, she seeks to attend graduate school and receive a Master’s Degree in Remote Sensing and Geospatial Information Systems (GIS).

More information:

2015 – Dawnylle Smith
Dawnylle Smith Dawnylle M. Smith is a Northern Arizona University alumnus with a bachelor’s degree in biology and a minor in chemistry. She is a Diné woman who worked with young Navajo high school students in her hometown of Ganado, Arizona as an educator. Currently, she is attending NAU as a Climate Science and Solutions Professional Science Masters student with an anticipated graduation date of December 2016.

Dawnylle’s career ambitions involve the study of wildlife indicator species to determine the climate change impacts on ecosystems located on Native American reservations. She wishes to effectively communicate climate-related issues to decision makers and indigenous communities with respect to the preservation of traditional knowledge and practices. Collaborations with tribal communities, scientists, government agencies, and research organizations would be of the utmost importance to identify mitigation and adaptation solutions to the consequences of climate change.

2015 – Deon Ben
Deon Ben Deon Ben is a member of the Navajo Nation from the community of Tohatchi, NM. He is working on completing his Masters of Science in the school of Environmental Science & Policy with an emphasis on incorporating Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) into Navajo community land use planning to address climate challenges and applications.

Deon comes from a long line of ranchers, which has provided him the foundation for his future career goals on working on conservation planning for grazing management in Navajo communities with climate change applications. He plans to return to the Navajo Nation and work in his community and his father’s community on grazing applications that would incorporate TEK to best provide outlet opportunities for their existing stressful grazing conditions. Deon also looks to develop a template curriculum for Navajo ecological knowledge to revitalize historic Navajo teachings surrounding land stewardship.

"My ultimate goal is for communities to include TEK into future grazing practices that would best provide a sufficient outlet to addressing climate challenges while simultaneously providing an avenue for Navajo teachings for future generations in relation to Navajo animal husbandry and grazing practices."

Deon will be completing his MS degree in 2016 and is currently serving on the Tohatchi Community Land Use Planning Committee and is incorporating his educational and TEK studies experience. He plans to begin his political career in the coming years by running for Tohatchi Chapter President and soon to serve his Navajo people by becoming an elected Legislative Council Delegate.

"The importance of address our environmental concerns is overdue and it is eminent that young experienced Native Americans return to their Nations and become practical players in decision making and leadership; we talk about our future in so many components but we have to come to the realization that the future is the present."

2015 – Chad Brown
Chad Brown Chad Brown hails from the proud tribes of Santo Domingo Pueblo, Santa Clara Pueblo, and the Navajo Nation in New Mexico. He is a transfer student from New Mexico attending Northern Arizona University (NAU) and is pursuing a Bachelor’s of Science in Forestry. His focus in the forestry program is the Fire Ecology and Management certificate. Organizations and clubs he is associated with are the BIA TREES PATHWAY Program and NAU’s Student Association for Fire Ecology (SAFE). He is a non-traditional student and has worked full time for the Santa Clara Pueblo Forestry Department for two and a half years prior to attending NAU. Working for a tribal forestry department fueled his decision to return to education after realizing his passion in environmental and forest stewardship. Influences from the leadership in the Santa Clara Pueblo Forestry Department have inspired him to choose his current career and higher education paths.

Mr. Brown’s overall goal is to continue a career in forestry that involves: teaching the importance of maintaining the health and vigor of the forest to Native communities, developing cultural appreciation and identity to our forests, writing grants and securing funding for environmental stewardship, writing silviculture prescriptions, and participating in professional restoration efforts. He wishes to bring back all of these skills to his community one day. An important aspect of his goal is to be able to mentor and guide those who share an interest in the natural sciences and forestry disciplines in the way Santa Clara has done for him.

2013 – Erin O’Keefe

2012 - Alyandra Aday

2012 - John Begay

2011 - Jamie Goudreau

2010 - Beverly Maxwell

2009 - Julaire Scott

2008 - Christopher Thompson

2007 - Lydia Edgewater

2006 - Ulaleya L. Stanley

For more information please contact:
ITEP general