Being a positive influence within my community is a value that I hold to high regard. I am White Mountain Apache from Whiteriver, Arizona and having the opportunity to positively impact my reservation is one of the largest motivators of my academic pursuits. I am currently a second-year sophomore at the University of New Mexico, seeking my bachelor’s degree in Population Health with a minor in Management. My aspirations currently consist of attending graduate school to obtain my master’s in Healthcare Administration and returning home to the Fort Apache Reservation. I wish to one day become the director of the Whiteriver Indian Health Services and be able to directly serve the White Mountain Apache Tribe. The academic goals I have will help me to understand the critical links between health, the social environment, and hospital oversight which will provide me the opportunity to positively alter health outcomes within my community.
My passion to uplift indigenous communities is innate and the generosity of the Mentors Foundation has encouraged me to act upon this desire. Aside from academics, I devote my time to helping Native population’s through my employment and research. I am currently employed at the Indigenous Nations Library at UNM and through my position I am consistently in touch with the native population at UNM. From my position I am able to assist the academic needs of indigenous students and assist them to their own academic success. Additionally, from this position I am constantly networking with indigenous organizations and groups to promote outreach and unification of the indigenous community at UNM. Outside of this, I am also involved in a community based participatory research project conducted by UNM known as the Family Listening/ Circle Program. This program works with Jemez Pueblo, Mescalero Apache, and Ramah Navajo. This research that I am a part of exists to integrate traditional teachings, cultural preservation and health promotion to provide an intergenerational cultural-centered holistic approach to prevention.
The goals that I have and the extracurricular activities I am a part of are sustained and encouraged by the generosity of the Mentors Foundation. The support I have received allows me to dedicate my time to the indigenous community at UNM and various other indigenous peoples. I am beyond thankful for the opportunity to explore my interests and solidify my passion. I am very appreciative of the investment the Mentors Foundation has made in me and it’s this same type of support that I wish to embody. Thank you, Mentors Foundation.