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Ella Weber wins Truman Scholarship for public service

Fountain in front of the Princeton School of Public and International Affairs.
Jean Shin / The Daily Princetonian

Ella Weber ’25 was named as one of 60 recipients of the 2024 Truman Scholarship, a $30,000 award given to college juniors to “recognize and reward their commitments to careers in public service.” Weber, a SPIA major, hails from Crookston, Minn. and is a member of the Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara Nation.

Weber is a research fellow with Nuclear Princeton, a project examining the impacts of nuclear science on Native lands and communities. As part of that work, she produced a five-part “Scientific American” series about 15 nuclear missiles siloed in her tribe’s Fort Berthold reservation in North Dakota.


She is also a co-president of Natives at Princeton, a board member of the Princeton Indigenous Advocacy Coalition, and a member of the Scholars Institute Fellows Program (SIFP).

Weber’s interest in nuclear policy began in the freshman seminar Nuclear Princeton: An Indigenous Approach to Science and the Environment in Spring 2022, taught by anthropology professor Ryo Morimoto.

“That was my first introduction to learning about nuclear issues on Indigenous lands,” Weber said. “But it really wasn’t until I got involved in the project when I realized that my own tribe was embedded in this nuclear legacy.”

Weber took two trips to the reservation to gather interviews and recordings during the spring and summer and spent the fall working with “Scientific American” to put the final product together.

“I’d never done a podcast before,” Weber said. “It was actually a very quick process.”

However, Weber said that, apart from Morimoto’s class, “There’s not really any Indigenous policy classes, which is something I would really like to work on.” 


“There definitely needs to be more Indigenous professors to support Indigenous-led projects,” she added. 

The University recently hired J. Kēhaulani Kauanui to fill its first professorship of Indigenous Studies, and the Effron Center for the Study of America is currently working towards the establishment of an Indigenous Studies minor. 

However, in September, faculty and students affiliated with Indigenous groups on campus expressed doubts about the lack of a definitive timeline for the minor’s establishment, as well as the ability of the University to attract enough professors to build a full program.

After graduation, Weber plans to attend law school at the University of North Dakota. She said her decision was “rooted in the fact that they have a federal Indian law program, and that it’s close to my tribe’s reservation, so I’d be able to continue doing advocacy work and doing work with the tribe while I attend.”

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Previous winners of the scholarship at Princeton include Jalen Travis ’24 and Jessica Lambert ’22. Lambert was also a researcher with Nuclear Princeton and is an enrolled citizen of the Choctaw Nation.

Weber added that winning the scholarship was “kind of crazy, because I was first told about the Truman Scholarship my senior year of high school.”

“I don’t need external validation, but it’s nice to have other people saying you’re doing a good job and [they] see the leadership potential,” she said.

Miriam Waldvogel is an associate News editor and the investigations editor for the ‘Prince.’ She is from Stockton, Calif. and often covers campus activism and University accountability.

Christopher Bao ’27 is an assistant News editor and the accessibility director for the ‘Prince.’ He is from Princeton, N.J. and typically covers town politics and life.

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