University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

Office of the Vice Chancellor for Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

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Indigenous Pathways Program

The Indigenous Pathways Program is a chance for Native High School Students to experience and learn more about the University of Illinois.

Summer Program for Native High School Students

The Indigenous Pathways Program is an exciting summer bridge program for Native high school students. The program serves as a starting point for sophomores and juniors to explore what university life and studies have to offer. Participants will explore campus and learn about college life at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. They will meet mentors who will advise them on academics, undergraduate research, and advanced preparation for college application.

Through this program students will gain the tools and resources they need to succeed in their academic pursuits. By participating in the Indigenous Pathways Program, students will have the opportunity to enrich their lives and create a brighter future for themselves and their communities. Students from any Native nation may apply.

Registration Deadline Extended to May 15, 2024

Summer 2024 Program: June 23–26, 2024

During the program, students will stay overnight on campus in a university residence hall with a University of Illinois student staff member on site. Online registration will open Spring 2024. Housing and accommodations costs are covered by the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.

Program Highlights

Sunday, June 23

Arrive on campus for welcome dinner and tour

Monday, June 24

  • Introduction to the Native American House — “Scouting for Campus Resources”
    • For many Native Nations, scouting is a warrior tradition and remains a necessary exercise when exploring environments new to you. Locating campus resources and spaces is part of what makes your academic and social transition to university life successful. Native American House (NAH) staff will facilitate campus and internet-based scouting exercises, including frozen treats and prizes! A tour of the NAH will serve as the starting point for this activity.
  • Admissions and Application Experts from Undergraduate Admissions
    • Learn more about the application and admission process at the university.
  • Cancer Center at Illinois
    • Tour the Cancer Center to learn more about opportunities and innovation at Illinois.
  • Game Night

Tuesday, June 25

  • Explore the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences
    • Visit the UIUC Sustainable Student Farm for a hands-on experience in diversifying fruit and vegetable production, meet local freshwater fish species and conduct a food science experiment.
  • Visit Krannert Center for the Performing Arts
    • Practicing storytelling through “We Are The Stories We Tell.”
  • Tour Spurlock Museum of World Cultures
    • View exhibits including “Welcome to the Pow-wow: An Intertribal Pow-wow Experience,” and archival collections of Indigenous collections.
  • Bowling Night

Wednesday, June 26

  • Working in a Cleanroom
    • Tour the Mechanical Engineering building and participate in a cleanroom lab activity. Students will learn to work in an environmentally controlled lab while creating their own pattern on a silicon wafer by using photolithography.   
  • Lunch and program wrap-up
  • Departure early afternoon
Alma Mater Statue at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign blanketed in a blue star quilt for Native American Heritage Month.

Travel to Urbana-Champaign

Participants in the Indigenous Pathways program can be reimbursed up to $500.00 in travel expenses incurred for attendance. Expenses will be reimbursed after attending the program and require copies of receipts to be submitted along with basic personal information. Acceptable travel expenses include transportation services (airfare, train ticket, bus ticket, mileage, taxi/rideshare), lodging, and meals. Expenses must incur while in route to or from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign for the Indigenous Pathways program. Reimbursements are sent via USPS mail and usually arrive 3-4 weeks after all relevant information has been provided.


Please contact Program Coordinator Jenna Wombles-Jagodzinski for assistance with the registration process at or 217-300-9580. Print registration forms can be mailed to the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, 614 E. Daniel Street, Suite 302, Champaign, IL 61820

Every society needs educated people, but the primary responsibility of educated people is to bring wisdom back to the community and make it available to others so that the lives they are leading make sense.

Vine Deloria, Jr.
Noah Blue Elk Hotchkiss, class of 2022, presented the Land Acknowledgement statement during the campus-wide commencement at Memorial Stadium, sharing a story passed on by his grandfather. Noah, who is of Southern Ute/Southern Cheyenne/Caddo descent, was a wheelchair athlete for the university, as well as reaching out to encourage more Native American people to take part in adaptive sports.

About the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

The University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign sits on the traditional lands of the Peoria, Kaskaskia, Piankashaw, Wea, Miami, Mascoutin, Odawa, Sauk, Mesquaki, Kickapoo, Potawatomi, Ojibwe, and Chickasaw Nations and was founded in 1867 under the first Morrill Land-Grant Act. Since that time, the University of Illinois has grown into a world-class research institution and contains 16 schools and colleges and offers more than 150 undergraduate and 100 graduate and professional programs. The University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign offers scholarships for members of the Peoria Tribe of Indians of Oklahoma, connected historically with the state of Illinois, as well as students who are not residents of the state of Illinois and are members of any of the Tribal Nations federally recognized by the Bureau of Indian Affairs.