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The SKC Native Fellows Program is seeking to increase the number of Native American students who are engaged in community-based geosciences research, field experiences, and careers. The project is seeking student applications that include well planned work experience proposals that allow applicants to gain hands on knowledge in a geoscience field.

Eligibility requirements

  • Native American student attending SKC
  • Pursuing a degree in an Earth Science or Geoscience related discipline (e.g. Life Science, Environmental Science, Fisheries and Wildlife, Hydrology, Forestry, Chemistry, Biology, Information Technology, Mathematics, Tribal Historic Preservation)
  • Have a demonstrated financial need
  • Have completed at least one year of education in a degree program
  • Minimum of 2.5 GPA


  • Student awardees will be granted a fellowship of up to $1875 to be distributed at a rate of $15 per hour for 125 hours of field work.
  • Travel, accommodations, and training at an annual NSFiS gathering that brings fellows together with geosciences professionals, mentors, and other fellows for training, personal support and professional reflection.
  • Fellows will be matched to a mentor at their tribal college or someone from their home community who can support their aspirations.
  • Ongoing face-to-face peer networks and an online network utilizing Facebook, Slack, and other social media platforms.
  • Recognition from participation in the NSFiS program.


  • Work with a tribal environmental program or community-based science organization. 
  • Pursue a research or geosciences education project. 
  • Communicate with the mentor regularly (at least weekly).
  • Travel to the annual 3-day fellowship gathering in the spring. All travel funds will be provided. This three-day geosciences-focused workshop for tribal college and university fellows will be held annually at various Montana institutions.
  • Minimal supplies can be provided to support research. The funding may not exceed $125.
  • Over time, move from dependent research projects led by a mentor into more independent research projects including those integrating Western science and Indigenous knowledge.
  • Maintain a 2.5 GPA or higher and between 12 and 18 credits (no more and no less) during the fellowship.

Selection criteria 

The selection will be based on students’ maturity, demonstrated interests in geosciences, leadership potential, academic standing, academic need, and evidence of prior service to their community and stewardship of the environment. 
  • Prospective fellows must have a strong interest in geosciences fields and a track record of preparatory science courses. 
  • Prospective fellows must have a declared major in the geosciences and a track record of preparatory science courses at the tribal college or university of their choosing.
  • Fellows are expected to remain in good academic standing.

Contract length and renewal

  • The fellowship will be awarded for a period of one year, although Fellows will be encouraged to participate in the network beyond that time.
  • The contract length is 125 hours.
  • Fellows may petition for one subsequent award that may be granted at the administrator’s discretion. The award is dependent upon the applicants’ active commitment to personal and professional success, participation in the program, commitment to their work, satisfactory academic progress, project completion, overall performance and professionalism, and availability of funds.

Application materials

  • Fellowship Application
  • Copy of unofficial transcripts
  • Copy of the Financial Aid Needs Analysis
  • Statement of Purpose
o  Format: 1 page, 12 pt Calibri font, 1-inch margins, 1.5 spaced (400 word minimum)
o  Address why you want to be a fellow and why you are applying
o  Describe your personal and academic background
o  What are your educational and career goals? For yourself? For your community?
o  How will this fellowship help you achieve these goals?
o  Anything else you would like the selection committee to know about you
  • One-page proposal addressing what organization you will work with, what the work duties and learning objectives are, and timeline that outlines a detailed work schedule (days, hours, etc.). Please take into consideration your student and personal schedule.

Application process

  • Applications are due by Friday at midnight of the 3rd week of each quarter. Late applications may be considered contingent on the availability of placements and funding. 
  • Applications will be reviewed by a selection committee comprised of academic leaders on or before midterm each quarter.
  • All required application materials must be submitted via Handshake.

Application instructions

  1. Please download the attached fillable pdf Native Fellows application. After completing and saving the document, please upload into your documents folder under "Resume". Do not make it visible to the public! When you are ready to apply, attach the application under the "Resume".
  2. Download your transcript from JICS and save it as a PDF document. Do not save the web view of the document! Use the print-friendly button at the bottom of the transcript screen to create a PDF version of the document. If you can not access your transcript on JICS for any reason, please obtain a copy (can be unofficial) from your advisor or Enrollment Services. Use the following naming convention to title your transcript: "Your last name_Transcript_Date". Example: "Oruste_Transcript_7_2020". When you are ready to apply, attach it under the "Transcript".
  3. Prepare your Statement of Purpose and Project Proposal. Save as ONE document and upload into your documents folder under "Cover letter". When you are ready to apply, attach the combined document under the "Cover letter".
  4. Obtain a copy of your Financial Aid Needs Analysis from the Financial Aid Office. (You may request that it be sent electronically as a pdf file.) When you are ready to apply, attach it under the "Other".
  5. When you are ready to apply, click the "Apply" button below the position title. Upload or attach all documents as instructed in previous sections.