Ella Weber awarded Truman Scholarship for public service

Princeton University junior Ella Weber has been awarded a Truman Scholarship, which provides funding for graduate studies in public service, as well as leadership training and internship opportunities within the federal government. Weber, a member of the Class of 2025, is one of 60 recipients nationwide.

Weber is majoring in Princeton’s School of Public and International Affairs (SPIA). She is from Crookston, Minnesota, and is a member of the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara (MHA) Nation.

She plans to use the Truman Scholarship to earn a J.D. with a certificate in Indian and Tribal Law from the University of North Dakota School of Law. As part of her scholarship experience, Weber also hopes to pursue a summer internship with ICT News, the nonprofit news platform that covers Indigenous peoples.

Weber said she ultimately wants to become a professional law and policy journalist in order to “provide accessible information to tribal members about laws and policies that will directly impact Tribal Nations.”

Assistant Professor of Anthropology Ryo Morimoto said that Weber is “one of the most determined and self-driven students” he has ever met.

“With her dedication, open-mindedness and interpersonal skills, I am confident that Ella will be a path-breaking researcher, policymaker and leader whose actions and ideas will benefit not only her tribe but also Native American communities at large,” Morimoto said in a letter of recommendation.

Weber is a 2023 Udall Undergraduate Scholar in Tribal Policy, a national fellowship that “identifies future leaders in environmental, Tribal public policy and health care fields,” according to the Udall Foundation. She is also a 2021 Cobell Scholarship recipient, which the program says provides “opportunities for high achieving, community involved Native college students with leadership experience.”

She is currently a youth council member of the National Council of Urban Indian Health, based in Washington, D.C.

On campus, Weber is a head research fellow for SPIA’s Science and Global Security Program and a research fellow for the undergraduate-led Nuclear Princeton project. Her research on the environmental and social impacts of nuclear missile silos located on the Fort Berthold reservation in North Dakota was featured in the Scientific American series “The New Nuclear Age.”

Morimoto said Weber has been an essential member of faculty and student research teams related to nuclear security and impacts.

“The significance of Ella’s participation has been immense,” he said. “Without exaggeration, my collaborators at the Science and Global Security and I could not have imagined our [nuclear] fallout project without her. Ella singlehandedly organized a week-long field trip for March 2023, our follow-up trip in July 2023, and again in January 2024 to help the research group establish connections with local tribal community members and interview them.”

In addition to her academic and research work, Weber is co-president of the student organization Natives at Princeton, an executive board member of the Princeton Indigenous Advocacy Coalition, a member of the Scholars Institute Fellows Program (SIFP), member of the Princeton University Mentoring Program, and a member of Whitman College.