Elymash Yuuchaap Indigenous Scholars and Leaders Program

Celebrating 10 Years

In the fall of 2013, the Elymash Yuuchaap: Indigenous Scholars and Leaders Program was founded with 12 undergraduate scholars and a small support network to help them succeed. Since then, we have supported nearly 300 scholars as they pursue higher education and work to assist their tribal communities! Elymash Yuuchaap has grown in so many ways over the years and we cannot wait to share all these successes with you and the entirety of the EY community. 

You are invited to join us March 22nd as we celebrate a decade of successes as well as network with the entirety of the EY community! RSVP to let us know you will be there.

You don't want to miss this!

EY 10 Year Anniversary Celebration:

Friday, March 22, 2024
6 p.m. - 9 p.m.
Campus Location: TBD

Highlight Reel Coming Soon

What is Elymash Yuuchaap? 

Elymash Yuuchaap means Youth Think in ‘Iipay Aa, the Kumeyaay language. This name was gifted to the program by now passed Kumeyaay elder from Barona, Larry Benegas. This name is used in deference to the First Peoples of this region and honors their thriving heritage and culture. Elymash Yuuchaap (EY) began in 2014 with a group of 12 students and we are proud to share that we have grown to support over 80 students on campus. Drawing from social justice and Indigenous perspectives, the EY Program is dedicated to supporting the academic, cultural, and social success of Native and Indigenous students at San Diego State University. EY provides mentoring and community-based learning experiences for incoming SDSU first-year and transfer students. Students participate in a weekly 1-unit seminar, where they receive: 

  • Peer mentorship - each student is paired with an upper level undergraduate mentor to build a strong network of peer to peer engagement.
  • Academic advising
  • Cultural workshops & activities centered around Native and Indigenous practices 
  • Contemporary Native and Indigenous issues 
  • Community guest speakers
  • College success strategies  
  • Scholarship opportunities
  • Community graduation ceremony 

Successful leaders have a strong sense of their own identities and a comprehensive understanding of the diverse cultures they engage. Cultural identity is said to be a strong indicator for Native American persistence and academic performance in college. Future leaders in Tribal and Urban Native Communities require a unique set of tools that bridge cultures, knowledge, and resources. The Elymash Yuuchaap Indigenous Scholars and Leaders Program provides a dynamic space where Native and Indigenous leadership, culture, and issues are at the center of the conversation.

Mission: To engage, support and promote the cultural, social, academic, and leadership development of students committed to the sovereign identity and progress of Indigenous communities.

Vision: To retain and graduate students who will serve as agents of change in their community.

Eligibility: Elymash Yuuchaap Indigenous Scholars & Leaders Program is open to all undergraduate students from any major at San Diego State University, who have a demonstrated commitment to the success and sustainability of Native American & Indigenous communities and cultures.


Application Information


The Elymash Yuuchaap Indigenous Scholars and Leaders Program (EY) is a program offered to incoming students and can serve as a home away from home. As a first-year EY student, we have exciting opportunities available for the 2024-2025 academic year!

For the first time since the inception of the Elymash Yuuchaap program in 2013, we now have the opportunity to offer grants for tuition and fees to those EY candidates that are interested and meet the program requirements. We invite you to complete the attached Google application form to determine eligibility and to understand the criteria required to maintain the tuition scholarship. 

Under the EY Indigenous Scholars and Leaders Program, there are specific application and eligibility requirements that one must meet:

EY Selection/Application Criteria:

  • Must complete this Google application
  • Must be a current or newly admitted San Diego State University undergraduate
  • Must be enrolled in a qualifying degree program
  • Must have a FAFSA application filed with the university
  • Complete the short answer essay questions included in this application expressing your demonstrated interest in sustaining Native American/Indigenous culture and sovereignty
  • Three letters of recommendation verifying your leadership and commitment to uplifting Native American communities. Letters cannot be from a parent or caretaker. Letters can be submitted by the student or the person recommending.
  • Candidates will participate in a short interview with the campus selection committee

For early consideration to the EY Scholars program for 2024-25 the priority deadline for EY applications will be due December 17th, 2023 at 11:59pm. All applications are due March 20th, 2024, 11:59pm. However, applications will still be reviewed and accepted on a rolling basis until July 1st, 2024.

If admitted into the EY program, there is an Ongoing Eligibility Process which fosters greater levels of engagement which include students attending the EY seminar class weekly on Fridays at 2pm and complete weekly meetings with their EY mentor. 

If interested in being a part of the EY Scholarship program, please complete the application by the deadline listed above. Also, please note that the Native Resource Center is here to support you throughout your university journey and connect you with the resources we offer and the partnerships we have to support you regardless of joining the EY program.

Our staff will be available to answer any questions you might have. Please contact us at 619-594-3188 or by email at [email protected].

Apply Here

Recommendation Letters


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