Charlotte cross country/track and field star Aurora Trujillo has been selected as one of 12 students from 12 tribes and 12 universities to be a 2012 Native American Congressional Interns, the Udall Foundation announced Monday. Trujillo and the other interns were selected by an independent review committee of nationally recognized Native educators and tribal policy leaders on the basis of academic achievement and a demonstrated commitment to careers in tribal public policy.

This highly regarded internship program is intended to provide American Indians and Alaska Natives with an insider's view of the federal government. The internship is located in Washington, D.C., and is known for placing students in extremely competitive internship positions in Senate and House offices, committees, Cabinet departments, and the White House, where they are able to observe government decision-making processes firsthand.

Trujillo, who hails from the Taos Pueblo Tribe, will intern in the office of U.S. Senator Jeff Bingaman. The Taos Pueblo, N.M. native will graduate in May with a bachelor's degree in sociology and a minor in public health. She plans to continue her education with a master's degree in public health policy. As a varsity athlete, Trujillo wants to improve the health of American Indians through prevention with physical activity and nutrition, along with integrating traditional living. She strongly believes improved health will strengthen native culture and communities, create opportunity, and empower youth. She is also interested in environmental and social issues affecting community health.

Trujillo and the other 11 new Udall Interns will complete an intensive, 10-week internship in the summer of 2012. Special enrichment activities will provide opportunities to meet with key decision makers. From 1996 through 2012, 198 American Indian and Alaska Native students from 104 tribes will have participated in the program.

The Udall Foundation awards approximately 12 internships every summer on the basis of merit to American Indians and Alaska Natives who are college juniors or seniors, recent graduates from tribal or four-year colleges, or graduate or law students who have demonstrated an interest in fields related to tribal public policy, such as criminal justice, cultural preservation and revitalization, education, economic development, health, law, natural resources protection, and tribal governance.