VERMILLION, S.D. – University of South Dakota rising senior Tamee Livermont, from Martin, South Dakota, on the Pine Ridge Reservation, has been awarded the prestigious Udall Scholarship for the second straight year.

Livermont, a member of the Oglala Sioux Tribe, is double majoring in medical biology and Native American studies.

“Growing up I saw a lot of moms using drugs and alcohol while they were pregnant so I was a witness to the effects,” said Livermont. “It sparked my interest wondering why do people use drugs and alcohol while they’re pregnant. I always wanted to be that first line of defense for those babies affected by it.”

Livermont said she picked up the second Native American studies major after her first Udall experience exposed her to the policy issues surrounding Native American health care. In addition to a medical doctorate focusing on neonatology, she would also like to earn a master of public health degree.

“I want to work in the Native community to research and improve Native American health care nationwide and the policies related to it,” she said.

Livermont is president of the USD American Indian Science and Engineering Society, an executive board member of the Alternative Week of Off-Campus Learning (AWOL) and a member of the USD Medical Biology Club as well as various other campus organizations.

This summer, Livermont will intern at the Sioux Falls Community Health Clinic and will attend the 2017 Udall Scholars Assembly, Aug. 8-13, in Tucson, Arizona.

Livermont is one of 50 students from 42 colleges and universities chosen for the Udall scholarships that provide up to $7,000 for the scholar’s junior or senior year. The Udall Foundation selects recipients based on their commitment to careers in the environment, American Indian health care or tribal public policy, leadership potential and a record of public service and academic achievement. The scholars were selected from 494 candidates nominated by 224 colleges and universities.