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: April 12, 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.

Alma Mater Statue at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign blanketed in a blue star quilt for Native American Heritage Month.

More information about the Summer 2024 program will be posted soon. Programs from previous years include:

  • The Navajo Water Project and the importance of Indigenous knowledge in engineering design solutions
  • Native Histories of the Midwest
  • We are the Stories We Tell: Learning and practicing storytelling.
  • Preparing for college
  • Touring the cutting-edge Cancer Institute

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.