USRT Scholarship

Bob Austin

The Upper Snake River Tribes (USRT) Foundation Tribal Scholarship was established in 2017 to support a tribal member from one of the USRT’s four member tribes in pursuit of a career in the environmental, fish & wildlife, and/or natural resource fields. The awardee will receive a one-time scholarship of $3,000.00.*** The USRT scholarship honors a USRT tribal leader or USRT staff member who has exhibited dedication and passion in one or more of those fields and has been a cornerstone of USRT’s success. In 2021, the USRT Tribal Scholarship honors the memory and legacy of Bob Austin, USRT’s first Fish & Wildlife Director (2012 – 2019).

Bob worked on fish & wildlife issues for many decades with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and Bonneville Power Administration before unretiring and joining USRT in May of 2012, which he described as his “dream job.” Equally important to the treasure trove of fish & wildlife knowledge Bob brought to USRT was his passion, optimism, diplomacy, humor, and unmatched work ethic.  Out of the “USRT Portland office” as he called it, Bob worked tirelessly to achieve equity in the Upper Snake River Basin for USRT’s member tribes and the fish & wildlife resources that the tribes have depended on since time immemorial for their cultural and spiritual lifeways. A particular passion of Bob’s at USRT was promoting a career path in fish & wildlife to tribal youth.

Bob visiting with the Fort McDermitt Paiute-Shoshone tribal youth during a career fair.

To the dismay of many, Bob’s tenure at USRT was cut short in the spring of 2019 when he was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s B-cell lymphoma. While Bob ultimately beat cancer valiantly, the treatment process took a toll on his body that proved insurmountable.  Bob passed away peacefully on March 30, 2020 at his home in Happy Valley, Oregon. While Bob is sorely missed by USRT staff and its member tribes, his memory will never be forgotten.  Bob was an inspiration to all and his legacy will always be felt, giving us something to aspire to every day.

USRT would like to extend great appreciation and thanks to Carla Austin, Bob’s wife, whose generous donation made the scholarship possible.

***In the case that two equally qualified and deserving students from a USRT member tribe apply, USRT may consider dividing the scholarship and providing $1,500 to each student.


Eligibility requirements include the following:

  • Completion of USRT Scholarship Application form
  • Be an enrolled member of the Burns Paiute Tribe, Fort McDermitt Paiute-Shoshone Tribe, Shoshone-Bannock Tribes of the Fort Hall Reservation, or Shoshone-Paiute Tribes of the Duck Valley Reservation
  • Be seeking a degree/career in the fields of study including: environmental, fish & wildlife, and/or natural resources
  • Be enrolled in or entering in (verification required) a U.S. accredited college or university as a full-time, degree-seeking student
  • High School/College transcript must have a cumulative GPA of 2.5 or greater, on a 4.0 scale
  • In a 500 word, one-page essay, demonstrate commitment to the environmental, fish & wildlife, and/or natural resource fields and how you intend to use that knowledge in your post-collegiate career
  • At least 1 letter of recommendation, with contact information, from someone who can attest to your academic ability, work ethic, and/or interest in sciences. For example: Tribal leader, teacher, school counselor, employer, volunteer group leader, etc.

Submit your application and required documents to or by mail to USRT.  Application packages will be reviewed by the USRT Scholarship Committee.



Congratulations to the 2020 USRT Scholarship recipient, Wayne Crue! ​

My name is Wayne Lawrence Crue, I am a Shoshone-Bannock Tribal member from Fort Hall ID. I am 32 years old currently pursuing my degree in Biology with an emphasis on stream ecology. I have been a permanent Aquaculturist with the Fish and wildlife Department in Fort Hall since 2013. Since then me and my companion Shaneesha Mountainsheep have been raising our children of two, Neena (4) and Ben(2).

I would like to thank the Upper Snake River Tribes for accepting my application on receiving your scholarship. I will continue on my path to further my education that will ultimately help me provide a better service to my people and community. Fish and Wildlife has always been a concern to me since its easily overlooked of how important natural resources are to our very existence. It is not only an important factor in our culture but is essential to our future generations. It is important that we can find ways to mitigate and predict solutions for the environments that are changing rapidly due to human consumption. We are constantly reminded that our future heavily depends on the wellbeing of our planet along with all its natural beautiful ecosystems. Thanks for your help in my endeavors.


Congratulations to the 2019 USRT Scholarship recipient, Daranda Hinkey!

Hello, my name is Daranda Hinkey. I am a proud member of the Fort McDermitt Paiute-Shoshone Tribe. I am a senior at Southern Oregon University and apart of the SOU Women’s Basketball team. I am seeking a major in Environmental Science and Policy with a minor in Psychology and a certificate in Viticulture. After graduation, I hope to help Native communities in Environmental issues. I held my first annual youth basketball camp in McDermitt, Nevada this past summer and also hope to engage indigenous youth in every aspect.