STUDENT HIGHLIGHT JANUARY 2021
I am Erika Yellowhair from the Navajo Nation. I am currently studying Elementary Education and hope to return home to my school district with my PhD in Educational Leadership to become the superintendent and a member of the Navajo Nation Board of Education.
I’m from Sonastee, New Mexico. I lived in a one-bedroom house with seven of my relatives. There wasn’t cell phone service. I didn’t have any drawers and kept my clothes in a tote and drove an hour to get back and forth from school. I always thought this was a normal way of life but I’ve since realized it’s not, but I wouldn’t change how I lived. Money has never been something I’ve had a lot of. Growing up my family and I were comfortable, but we were not well off. My dad worked as a supervisor in a construction company and when the 2008 housing market crashed in Phoenix my family lost our house and we were forced to go home to Sonastee where my parents have struggled with work ever since. My mom eventually took a job as a teacher and has worked as an educator since. We’ve been homeless many times but I looked at it as a normal thing. We’ve lived with family almost all my life and even now my parents and my siblings don’t currently have a place to live.
This may make my parents seem idle, but they are two of the most hard-working people I know. They’ve never been without a job and have always provided for my siblings and I’s needs. It was these obstacles that helped my parents realize that they needed to go back to school. My mom is going to grad school for Special Education and my dad is in his last year of his civil engineering program at the University of Utah.
Money is not the only obstacle I’ve had to face coming to school. When I first started college, I was originally in a major that I was not prepared for. It was hard to do the work that some students had already been doing for a year in high school and I was catching up and learning new material along with them. It soon became apparent that it was not my major not only because my grades did not reflect my work ethic, but it would not lead me to my overall goal of becoming a superintendent.
I left BYU for a year to serve a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and while on my mission I experienced many hard things, one being many health concerns, but I continued to work as hard as my body would allow. I was eventually sent home early due to my increasing health concerns. My first semester back at BYU I had clarity on what I wanted to do and the necessary steps to get there. However, my new health concerns were something I was still learning to manage. I was finally diagnosed with juvenile idiopathic arthritis because they had yet to determine the specific type of arthritis I have. This health condition can be very hard to manage when first diagnosed for many people as it was for me. It can also come with other health concerns. There were times throughout the semester I was unable to physically get out of bed and had to have a lot of help from others. Being 20 and having to use a cane to walk everywhere can be a humbling experience and for some it may be detrimental, but I tried as best as I could, but it was not at a level I’m proud of. I had to drop a class and was always late, if I showed up at all, to my morning classes because I’d wake up stiff from my arthritis. I knew I had to change my life as a student to match my new obstacles and by winter semester I had eliminated some of my stressors from my routine such as my job and clubs.
Having all these circumstances may make it seem like I have had a hard life and I wouldn’t argue, but to say I haven’t learned something from each challenge life has brought would be untrue. It is your help and donation that gives me hope in hopeless times. This year will be hard on my family and I without a doubt. Any financial support I receive is truly an honor and I will continue to work as hard as I can to be worthy of it. I thank you for all your support. I will pay it forward to those I help in my future profession and my family as well.
– Erika Yellowhair
Student Highlight October 2020
Our October student highlight is Brandi Nicole Simonson. Brandi is a member of the Navajo tribe with ambitions to become a healthcare administrator. Brandi is a mother of 3 and is working hard to instill her cultural values in her children, including the importance of education.
Ya’at’eeh! Loloma! Hello! My name is Brandi Nicole Simonson. I am 28 years old, a Mother of 3 and a member of the Navajo Tribe. My clans are Rock Gap People, Water Flows Together, Hopi Sand and Chiricahua Apache. I was born and raised on the Navajo Reservation in Tuba City, Arizona. It’s not a big city, it’s very rural and only has two stop lights. I am at the end of my Junior year transitioning into my Senior year at Arizona State University. I am also a frequent participant in my Hopi culture from my Grandfather’s side, to this day we continue to hold and practice ceremonial and social dances year-round. Growing up in this culture, I value the teachings that I’ve grown accustomed to that developed me into the person I am today. I also instill these teachings into my children as well. Along with being a Mother, I am also a full-time student at Arizona State University, after receiving an associate degree through a local community college. I’ve applied and been accepted to Arizona State to continue on.
I am currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Health Entrepreneurship and Innovation. This is similar to having a business degree in Health care. With this degree, I am learning how to develop competence in designing, applying, and testing innovative ways of new ideas. Through the courses I’ve done so far, I’ve developed the importance of applying cultural competency developing documents, visual aids, public speaking to various audiences ranging from everyday people, researchers, administrators and health professionals. With this degree I plan on giving back to my community and doing my part assisting in running the health care system to continue to provide services to our communities, most of all to our Indigenous peoples.
Being a stay-at-home Mother and a Full-time student, I don’t have the funding to fully cover my academic tuition and costs. I am almost to the finish line of getting my degree, and I believe I have what it takes to make a change in healthcare for our Native American people. When completed with Arizona State University, I plan on applying for jobs with Indian Health Services or Native Health, a local clinic for all tribes.
Ahéhee’, Asquali, Thank You!
Scholarships For STEM Majors
Scholarships For STEM Majors
We love our STEM majors at American Indian Services, and we have a lot of them. 49% of our students are majoring in STEM related fields. They are moving toward careers that will benefit the Native American community, and the nation as a whole. We believe in the power of STEM so much that we even created a STEM summer school for Native American middle schoolers to help prepare them to become STEM majors and pursue STEM careers. We created a list of scholarships for STEM majors to further support our future STEM superstars. Our goal is to get you all the funding you need so that you can keep your focus on studying where it belongs. So once you’ve finished your American Indian Services scholarship application, return to this list to find more funding resources. To apply for scholarships with maximum efficiency, check out this guide we created to aid you in your search.
List Of Scholarships For STEM Majors
Capital Auto Auction will award a selected student applicant $1,000 to be used toward his or her degree. In addition, they will award a $250 textbook scholarship to the two runners-up.
To qualify, undergraduate students must be majoring in a STEM field of study (or related field) as well as attending an accredited college or university.
The deadline to apply for the 2021 Capital Auto Auction Annual College Scholarship is August 15, 2021. Winners will be announced August 30, 2021
Red Olive offers a $1,000 scholarship to encourage female students to study in STEM fields.
Must be a female student currently enrolled or planning to enroll in a fully accredited university in a STEM field.
Applicant must write an 800-word essay on the following question: How does she plan to make the future better with technology? Applicant must submit essay and required information online through the scholarship URL.
Deadline is August 1st.
Molded Dimensions offers scholarships for students in the process of pursuing a college degree in STEM. The awarded student will receive $500 to be used towards expenses for his or her degree.
Must be a U.S. citizen accepted to or currently attending a college or university within the United States. The winner will be required to provide proof of acceptance to your college or university, or a college transcript.
The North Dakota Space Grant Consortium gives scholarships to Native American students who are interested in pursuing STEM degrees and continue their education beyond their current enrollment in community college.
Applicants must be students committed to attend UND or NDSU after the applicants’ graduation and pursue a STEM degree at UND/NDSU.
Applicants must contact the Financial Aid office for their respective Institution, and fill out the application form together with applicants’ one letter or recommendation from a faculty member.
Deadline is November 14th.
The SMART Program provides a combined education and career opportunity to students pursuing STEM degrees that will enhance the Department of Defense (DoD) civilian workforce.
SMART offers a large package of benefits to qualified candidates:
- Full tuition and education related educational expenses (meal plans, housing, and parking not included)
- Stipend paid at a rate of $25,000 – $38,000 a year depending on degree level (may be prorated depending on award length)
- Summer internships ranging from 8 to 12 weeks
- Health Insurance allowance of up to $1,200 per academic year
- Miscellaneous allowance of up to $1,000 per academic year
- An experienced mentor at one of the Sponsoring Facilities
- Employment placement at a DoD facility upon degree completion.
The SMART application is open August through December of every year, with awards being granted the following spring. Review the requirements here to ensure you are eligible to apply.