I started in May as the Director for the American Indian Graduate Program (located in Barrows Hall) and am a member of Kha Po Owinge/Santa Clara Pueblo, a graduate from Haskell Indian Nations University, and an American Indian Studies graduate from UCLA.
Growing up in Santa Clara Pueblo, I always maintained an interest in ideas that weren’t necessarily the norm for Native children in my community. I was the owner of a large chemistry set that wasn’t the most attractive “board game” to play. One of my favorite toys was Perceptor, a scientist transformer, which changed into a microscope as its alternate form. Unlike the other transformer toys that transitioned into vehicles or fighter planes, Perceptor wasn’t the most popular transformer in the cartoon series as a microscope. He rarely engaged in battle, and each appearance in the cartoon highlighted his tendency to engage in overbearing communication using scientific terminology. These kinds of alternate interests informed me at a young age to be an individual and more importantly reinforced my view to be different.
An opportunity to serve as leadership for the AIGP at UC Berkeley is not only a chance to create opportunities that address American Indian and Alaska Native students in higher education, but an opportunity to transform the future of Indian education through innovative research, and through the celebration of students that have always maintained a similar view to be different, and explore their interests outside of a normal setting.
As a Native individual, I embrace a clear understanding of the history and marginalized perspective associated with the American Indian student experience. I also have over six years of experience working in higher education as the Native American Liaison for UNLV, and I am a founding member of the UNLV Intersection, an Academic Multicultural Resource Center. Within this role, I was able to utilize my Tewa perspective to address intersectional issues that impact students in higher education.
My goals serving as leadership for AIGP are to:
- Directly enhance the graduate education experience for Native American students in all colleges and schools in order to transform the intellectual atmosphere at Berkeley. This will provide greater educational opportunities for Native American students nationally and create significant cultural and economic impact on behalf of AIGP. Our efforts will visibly centralize graduate-level resources and departments to enhance student navigation and further community development for Native American individuals and their home communities.
- Develop appropriate recruitment/outreach strategies in efforts to increase critical mass, particularly in fields central to growing Berkeley graduate-level scholarship and sustaining Native American economic and cultural life. AIGP will work with UC graduate programs to develop ongoing workshops, training, and other program initiatives to foster excellence in mentoring for leadership on all levels of educational engagement and diversity.
- Increase the number of Native graduate students to be proportionate to Berkeley’s growth in the diverse graduate student body, and identify and seek financial resources for growing the Native American graduate student body.
I will continue the efforts of Ms. Carmen Foghorn and Ms. Cindy Andallo to reinforce a sense of community, access, and visibility for our Native graduate students attending Berkeley. I am honored to continue this program and reinforce a commitment for the contemporary Indigenous scholars navigating the Berkeley experience.
About the American Indian Graduate Program
The AIGP is dedicated to enhancing the graduate education experience for Native American students and transforming the intellectual atmosphere at UC Berkeley.