Nadira Mitchell, a Tucson native, is just one the graduates being celebrated at the University of Arizona’s commencement this weekend.

Mitchell, who majored in Natural Resources with an emphasis in Conservation Management and a minor in American Indian Studies, shared her college journey and the significance of her achievements.

“I’ve always had a connection with wildlife and the environment, and I’ve always wanted to protect and conserve our natural resources and land,” Mitchell said. “I also wanted to learn more about myself, my culture, and incorporate it into my future career.”

Mitchell mentioned the importance of incorporating her culture into her professional endeavors, particularly in her long-term goal of connecting with indigenous communities and tribal nations.

During her senior year, Mitchell served as Miss Native American University of Arizona, representing the university, the federally recognized tribes within Arizona, and her own tribal nation.

Despite the challenges of balancing academic responsibilities with extracurricular activities, Mitchell found every minute worth it.

“Making those individual connections with people was the highlight of my reign,” Mitchell said.

Following graduation, Mitchell has an internship as an Assistant Researcher for the Mescalero Apache Tribe’s Tribal Wildlife Management Plan. She later has hopes to return to the University of Arizona for graduate school.