The Andrew Mellon Foundation, American Indian College Fund, Team to Invest in Tribal College Development

american indian college fund logo

$2.024 Million Grant Program Will Provide Faculty Fellowships.

The Trustees of The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation have approved a grant of $2.024 million to the American Indian College Fund to continue support for graduate degree completion fellowships for Tribal College and University faculty. The three-year program, titled “Growing Our Own: Faculty Professional Development at Tribal Colleges and Universities,” is geared to invest in tribal college and university (TCU) faculty members and address the recent changes to TCU accreditation guidelines.

Most TCUs are located on American Indian reservations and in Alaska Native villages. They provide access to a higher education for students who reside in remote and rural areas and often cannot afford to relocate to attend college. TCUs are fulfilling a role that no other institution of higher education is capable of doing. These innovative institutions of higher education are serving as a pipeline for social and economic change, revitalizing the fabric of Native communities, and producing new generations of Native scholars, while preserving, nurturing, and perpetuating the culture and heritage of the communities they serve.

“Growing Our Own: Faculty Professional Development at Tribal Colleges and Universities” will provide professional development opportunities to TCU faculty and staff, giving them the chance to grow as leaders and to better serve their students. The program has three components: a Ph.D. Completion Program, a Master’s Degree Completion Program, and a Graduate Honors Program.

The Ph.D. Completion Program will provide one-year, $40,000 fellowships to eight TCU faculty who are “all but dissertation” in a terminal degree program, ensuring that they have the resources and time needed to complete their degrees. To qualify faculty must serve at the TCU for three years after earning his or her Ph.D.

The Master’s Degree Completion Program will provide two years of funding for 30 TCU faculty or staff (divided into three cohorts of 10 fellows each year) who hold bachelor’s degrees and are working towards or wish to complete a master’s of arts degree.

The Graduate Hours Program will provide funding for up to 40 TCU faculty members seeking to complete 18 graduate credit hours in their fields to meet recent accreditation requirements for highly qualified faculty, with priority given to faculty teaching at TCUs accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. The primary content areas to be funded are in the humanities (including English, music, art, language, and history). The College Fund also will award to up to 10 Fellows who choose disciplines other than the humanities, including education and public health.

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has worked with the College Fund to develop the qualifications to strengthen TCU faculty leadership to help position these institutions for future growth since 2004.

Cheryl Crazy Bull, former President of Northwest Indian College and current President and CEO of the American Indian College Fund, says, “Education is one of the most influential ways that Native people and American society provide a framework for history and for contemporary life. For tribal people, education is how we affirm our identities, build the esteem of our citizens, and share our values with the rest of society. This investment by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation is phenomenal because it not only removes a significant barrier to access, financial support, it brings new and better knowledge and qualifications to our most valued assets – our teachers. The College Fund appreciates both our long-time relationship with the Foundation and its ability to approach education in our communities in more timely and creative ways.”

Armando Bengochea, the Program Officer for Diversity and Director of the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship (MMUF) program at the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, says, “This is a very important ongoing effort of the Mellon Foundation to build academic capacity at these vital institutions.  Professionalization efforts at TCUs not only provide necessary and ongoing training for faculty but they build the leadership assets of the institutions, tribal nations, and local community.”

About the American Indian College Fund

Founded in 1989, the American Indian College Fund has been the nation’s largest charity supporting Native higher education for more than 28 years. The College Fund believes “Education is the answer” and provided 6,548 scholarships last year totaling $7.6 million to American Indian students, with more than 125,000 scholarships totaling over $100 million since its inception. The College Fund also supports a variety of academic and support programs at the nation’s 35 accredited tribal colleges and universities, which are located on or near Indian reservations, ensuring students have the tools to graduate and succeed in their careers. The College Fund consistently receives top ratings from independent charity evaluators, and received a four-star rating from Charity Navigator and is one of the nation’s top 100 charities named to the Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance. For more information about the American Indian College Fund, please visit

We Are Not Alone


By Kate Rahbari

Even if my high school self could teleport to the future to witness my accomplishments with my own eyes, I would still deny what I see today. I am one of only a handful of Native Americans in medical school, and I am in my third year of a dual MD-PhD program. For many, these are marks of hard work and success. But for me, they are marks of luck and circumstance.

My insecurities have followed me for as long as I can remember, but they became more apparent throughout college. During this time, someone suggested that I received scholarships because I was a member of a minority. Others told me that any medical school would accept me because I am a Native American and a woman.

These comments left me feeling undeserving of the success that I had worked so hard to achieve. If I had been born a white male, would I have gotten this far? Maybe minority outreach was the only reason for my success. My insecurities grew, and I felt like a fraud.

My thoughts became malignant:
You are not smart enough.
You don’t belong.
You are here because of luck.
Someone will find out about you.

In retrospect, it is clear to see how people’s comments changed my perception of my worth and my achievements, but for the longest time I felt like a fraud without recognizing or understanding why. I felt alone in these feelings until my junior year of college. During a talk at the SACNAS National Conference I felt out of place and not smart enough to be among all the brilliant, accomplished professionals who surrounded me.

Unexpectedly, the speaker described that she still feels exactly how I was feeling in that moment. She and several others explained how frequently throughout their careers they have felt like frauds waiting to get caught. She explained that this phenomenon, called imposter syndrome, is common among high achieving individuals and especially women and people of color.

Kate and her colleagues in the University of Illinois at Chicago Medical Scientist Training Program during the White Coat Ceremony, August 2015.

I was shocked. How could experts with doctoral degrees still feel like imposters? Learning that people I admire and view as successful also experience doubts encouraged me. I finally felt optimistic that I could succeed, despite my insecurities. However, it was disheartening to realize that if they still have these doubts, then I would probably battle with them for the rest of my career, too.

Years later, I continue to work on rejecting imposter thoughts nearly every hour of every day. They still happen frequently, especially when I succeed or when others compliment me. The only time I do not feel like an imposter is when I tell myself that I am not one. Keeping a “Win List” as a physical record of my proudest accomplishments helps as well. Sometimes I even read old emails from mentors who have given me encouragement along the way.

Over time, I have become alert and responsive to my imposter feelings. Whenever doubts arise, I give myself a pep talk in my head:

You are smart.
You work hard.
You are more than a score on an exam.
You are qualified.
You deserve to be here.

Now, several years after sitting in that audience and feeling like a fraud, I can proudly say that I belonged there. I graduated college with honors, I presented my research at several national conferences, I worked at the National Institutes of Health, and I was included as an author on three publications, all despite my imposter syndrome. I was not immune to setbacks along the way, but I got through them all because someone was brave enough to share their story at a conference. I am thankful that the courage and vulnerability of others let me know that I am not alone.

If I could teleport to the past and, without any imposter thoughts, see what I accomplished, I would see someone who is intelligent no matter what her exam scores show. I would see someone who is humble and hardworking. I would see someone who finds learning exciting and is not afraid to ask questions, someone who is more capable of success than she knows but will come to see her worth more and more with time. She is not defined by her doubts and insecurities nor is she alone in them. She is not an imposter. She is brave.

About the Author
Kate Rahbari is a Haliwa Saponi tribal member. Ms. Rahbari grew up in West Chester, PA, and studied biology at Temple University in Philadelphia. She is currently in her second year of medical school in an 8-year Medical Scientist Training Program at the University of Illinois at Chicago. She will be pursuing a PhD in Microbiology and Immunology.

Source: Originally published in STEM + Culture Chronicle, a digital magazine produced by Society for Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS).

Are You Ready to Apply for an Executive MBA?

Latina Graduate

By Karen Turtle

A professional career tends to develop in quite distinct stages. Early careers are often defined by uncertainty—this is a period where the learning curve can be at its steepest, and is also, for those go-getters among us, a time where progression up the ladder is frequently at its fastest.

Then comes the plateau. Thirtieth-birthday celebrations pass, the plaque on the door says ‘manager,’ but keys to the corner office still seem to be very much out of reach. There is, or so it can appear, a painfully perceptible gap (what might even feel like a chasm) to be bridged in order to get from the confines of middle management to the c-suite.

The GMAC 2016 Alumni Perspectives Survey found that the three main reasons senior professionals choose to do an executive MBA (EMBA) are to further their personal development, to extend their existing knowledge and skills, and to increase their salary. An executive MBA from a top business school can go some way toward granting these wishes; however, it is important that prospective candidates are ready to put in the work to fully benefit.

Here are four points to consider before you apply for an executive MBA.

Committing to the executive MBA means recommitting to textbooks
Many years may have passed since you leafed through the pages of a doorstop sized textbook. The executive MBA program will, among other things, immerse you in the core concepts of finance, strategy, marketing, operations, and so on. It is therefore important to assess what kind of learner you are and to determine whether going back to study and investing 12 to l 5 hours a week on coursework is viable.

Each top business school will also have its own teaching approach. IE Business School is, for example, well known for its use of the case study method. NYU Stern, meanwhile, places significant emphasis on experiential learning. Kellogg School of Management embraces the team-based approach, while other business schools may be more about individual work. Most schools accommodate all of the above to varying degrees, but it’s important to determine which school’s or schools’ approaches best fit your learning style before you apply.

Self-awareness: Can I successfully do this?
With fees for EMBA programs at some elite business schools hitting six-digit figures, it is important that you assess your commitment levels before you or your employer commits. In the build up to applying, make a list of your personal strengths and weaknesses. Will you be able to balance work, study, and family responsibilities? Can you ride out challenges at the office alongside EMBA project deadlines? Will you be able to stay chipper through the course of the program, or could stress levels exceed sensible levels?

Will your employer be amenable to the EMBA?
It is of course crucial that you do not jeopardize your job or business in any way. You will have to evaluate whether your work is conducive to doing the executive MBA. This is also where you have to sift through the various flexible program choices on offer. Many business schools can fast-track your EMBA so that learning is covered in as short as a 15-month period but are also open to extending the duration of the program as may be required. Different executive MBA programs also offer different flexible schedule options. Classes could be one-week long residentials, or they could be offered over weekends or evenings. For applicants interested in global projects, a large number of top business schools incorporate overseas study stints.

Bear in mind that work obligations may also be an impediment to your performance in the classroom. You will need to have a supportive boss who sees the overall value and transferability of the EMBA; that is, its potential to positively influence you, your team’s and your company’s performance over both the short and long term. Understanding this, your line manager will need to be open to giving you sufficient time sponsorship.

Family matters
The average executive MBA candidate is 38 years old. This means that many students on the program are not only juggling work and study, but the needs of family as well. It’s essential to consult your partner, children, parents and friends before filling out the first boxes of the EMBA application form—these people know you best, and, like your employer, will need to accept the time cost, albeit informally.

The EMBA is the most likely degree to be recommended by alumni
Once you have both family and employer approval, and you know that you have the mental energy and time resources to commit to the EMBA program of your choosing, you can rest assured that you have set yourself up well to get good return on investment (ROI).

The GMAC 2016 Alumni Perspectives Survey found that it only took EMBA graduates two-and-a-half years to recoup their investment, largely because they didn’t have to quit their jobs to study full time. Median ROI three years post graduating was 198 percent, which rose to 486 percent after five years, and to a staggering 1,747 percent after 10 years.

The same report stipulates that the executive MBA format, as opposed to full-time, part-time and online formats was the most-favorably recommended by alumni.

Source: First Appeared on


4 Tips to Consider When Comparing Financial Aid Packages

EMBA degree

According to the U.S. Department of Education, 20 percent of undergraduate students did not apply for financial aid in 2011-12.

Across all types of institutions, students’ top reasons for not applying for financial aid, and thus leaving financial aid on the table, were that they thought they were ineligible for such support and they thought they could afford college without financial aid.

Students who apply for financial aid receive their financial aid letters in late March and early April. Most students will have until the May 1 National Candidates Reply Date to decide whether to accept the college’s admissions offer and financial aid.

Here are four things for families to consider when comparing financial aid packages:

  1. What are my total costs to pay for college? What other costs such as textbooks, room and board, commuting to campus, personal expenses do I need to be prepared for?
  2. How much will I need to repay after college and how long will it take to pay back my loans?
  3. Are there factors such as significant changes in family income and grade point average that might cause my financial aid to change after the first year?
  4. How do each school’s financial aid offers differ? This will help determine which school is the most affordable.

Need extra money to help pay for college? TFS Scholarships has been helping students for over 30 years and offers more than 7 million individual scholarships and more than $41 billion in aid. Visit to learn more.

From The Obama Administration To Google: How This Latina Is Championing The Latinx Community

Latinas teaching

Laura Marquez’s job description is centered on one important mission — to bridge the gap and widen the doors of opportunity for the Latino community. It’s a mission that has remained consistent throughout her career. While serving in the Obama Administration, she was the Director of Outreach and Recruitment within the White House Presidential Personnel Office. Now, while at Google, she is the Head of Latino Engagement.

“Since Google is known for driving impact in new and innovative ways,” explains Marquez. “I am excited about the opportunity to impact my community through this lens.”

Her role affords her the opportunity to walk into Latino communities and serve them with technology in the way that makes the most sense to them.

“Our products impact people at such a personal level, from Search to Google Maps to Google Photos, and we continue to innovate to better serve the user,” shares Marquez. “We activated Person Finder post-Hurricane Maria to help friends and family locate loved ones in Puerto Rico, and another Alphabet company deployed Project Loon, a network of balloons traveling on the edge of space to restore wifi connectivity for over 100,000 people on the island.”

On a personal level, Marquez ha made it a point to carry her Obama legacy with her through this next stage of her career. Together with other Obama era political appointees, Marquez established Latinos44, a non-profit 501(c)6 membership organization, that helps Latino Obama administration alums stay connected, support, and mentor each other, while making an impact on the Latino community as a whole.

“I think the biggest lesson I learned was that everyone counts,” says Marquez. “Every single person can have an impact and do incredible work to move an agenda, a mission, or a movement forward.”

Below Marquez shares more insight into how she works to empower the Latino community, what her advice for Latinas is, and her thoughts on the impact of mentorship.

Vivian Nunez: What made you decide to jump from the public sector to tech, specifically to Google?

Laura Marquez: After several rewarding years in the public sector working with state and federal agencies, I decided to make the jump because I believe the corporate sector has an important role to play in communities and I wanted to help shape the direction of that work. Google presented a special opportunity as our products touch the daily lives of people in so many different ways. Now serving in the private sector, much of what I do is in line with my mission to serve the broader Latino community. The only difference is that my efforts are now within the tech space, but look to accomplish a similar mission — to widen the doors of opportunity, to build relationships and establish partnerships that address critical gaps access to resources, opportunities, and information, and to deepen community engagement and empowerment.

Nunez: How does your role as the head of Latino Community Engagement at Google connect specifically with the Latino community on the ground?

Marquez: As Head of Latino Engagement, I am charged with working to connect Google to the Latino community in purposeful ways. Part of this includes ensuring we are widening access to technology from a digital inclusion perspective to ensuring we are partnering with Hispanic Serving Institutions to develop and deepen the Latino tech pipeline, or supporting organizations like CHCI and Unidos US, in their work to empower Latinos across the country. My team and I are working to ensure Google’s engagement footprint demonstrates our values of inclusion and mission-driven impact, and that we are good community collaborators. We have an opportunity to identify gaps and work in partnership with trusted organizations to develop viable solutions.

Continue onto Forbes to read the complete article.

5 Tips For Winning Scholarship Applications

TFS Scholarships

Scholarships are a great way to pay for college, and unlike loans they don’t need to be repaid. But winning scholarships takes time, dedication, intensive research, and hard work—especially for essays. It’s deadline time for college applications, so it’s important to start the search for free money now!

The Internet has made the search easy and free, and scholarship databases like Tuition Funding Sources (TFS) offers access to 7 million scholarships and $41 billion in financial aid. Start by filling in the registration; then with a click, the site searches to find any scholarships for which you might qualify. The more information you provide about yourself, the more matches TFS can make.

Undergraduate and graduate students can search for scholarships that fit their interests. The majority of scholarship opportunities featured on TFS Scholarships come directly from colleges and universities, rather than solely from competitive national pools – thereby increasing the chances of finding scholarships that are the best match for students. Each month TFS adds more than 5,000 new scholarships to its database, maximizing the number of opportunities students have to earn funding for their education.

Richard Sorensen, President of TFS, suggests these tips when applying for scholarships:

  1. Apply for smaller scholarships

Many students look for scholarships that offer big awards but those are also the most competitive. Scholarships with smaller awards are easier to obtain because fewer students are competing for them. These scholarships can help with college costs such as books and living expenses.

  1. Customize your essay

Scholarship judges can tell if you’ve adapted a previously written essay to meet their criteria. Customize your application and use the beginning of your essay to showcase your personality and set yourself apart. Remember, the time you are spending to tailor your essay can be rewarded with a college debt free future.

  1. Submit scholarship applications early

Meet the deadlines and don’t wait until the due date. If the organization asks you to mail the application, don’t try to email it and if there is a maximum word count limit, don’t go over it. Most scholarship providers receive more qualified applications than available funds, so reduce your chances of being disqualified because you didn’t follow their requirements.

  1. Follow your passion

Apply for scholarships that fit your passion and interest. TFS has scholarships for everyone. The more personal the scholarship the higher your chances of winning.

  1. Increase your submission rate

The more applications you submit, the greater your chances are of winning scholarships. Treat applying for scholarships as a part-time job. Organize your free time and try to work on submitting one scholarship application every week and more during weekends. Remember if you spend 100 hours on submitting applications and win scholarships for $10,000 that is a really good part-time job!

TFS has been helping students for over 30 years and offers more than 7 million individual scholarships and more than $41 billion in aid. Visit to learn more.

How to Avoid Scholarship Scams


It’s no secret that scholarships are a great way to find free money for college. While it’s now easier than ever to search for scholarship opportunities online, easier navigation on the internet also makes it easier for online scammers.

Unfortunately, many families have fallen victim to scholarship scammers who are stealing millions of dollars from families every year. Your goal is to get money for college, and it shouldn’t cost you anything to apply for scholarships.

The good news is that there are red flags to look out for to avoid becoming the victim of a scholarship scam. A general rule of thumb – if it sounds too good to be true, it is. Learn the signs to protect yourself against being defrauded and find scholarships that are right for you. Here are 3 tips to avoid scholarship scams:

  1. Be cautious of fees: Applying for scholarships should not cost money. Be cautions of scholarships with application fees and never pay to get scholarship information. Scholarship databases are free and readily available online. Be on the lookout for phrases like “Guaranteed or your money back.” Scholarship websites can’t guarantee that you will win a scholarship because they’re not deciding on the winner. Legitimate scholarships won’t require an upfront fee when you submit the application.
  1. Protect your data: Never reveal financial information such as your social security number, credit card numbers, checking information or bank account numbers to apply for scholarships. Scholarship scammers could use this information to commit identity theft.
  1. Get a second opinion: If you’re still unsure, talk with trusted organizations about which websites they recommend. School counselors, librarians, financial aid offices, and local community organizations have knowledge and tools to guide you in the right direction.

To help cut through the clutter, TFS Scholarships provides free educational resources to ease the academic journeys of students and families around the country. Sponsored by Wells Fargo, TFS Scholarships has been helping students for over 30 years and offers more than 7 million individual scholarships and more than $41 billion in aid. Visit to learn more.

Dr. Cynthia Lindquist of Cankdeska Cikana Community College Named 2017 American Indian College Fund TCU Honoree of the Year

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Ceremony Also Honors 34 Tribal College Students of the Year

The American Indian College Fund honored Dr. Cynthia Lindquist, President of Cankdeska Cikana Community College in Ft. Totten, North Dakota, for her outstanding contributions to American Indian higher education as its Tribal College and University Honoree of the Year. Dr. Lindquist, along with 34 American Indian scholarship recipients named as Students of the Year, were lauded at a reception hosted by the College Fund in Bismarck, North Dakota.

The program, sponsored by the Adolph Coors Foundation, awarded Dr. Lindquist a $1,000 honorarium and each student of the year a $1,200 scholarship.

Lindquist says she never set out to be a college president. “College was a dream for me as a high school kid. I was the oldest of 13 kids, and there was no money for college,” she says.

But thanks to her parents and both sets of grandparents raising her with a strong work ethic, college is exactly where she landed.

After graduating from high school Lindquist went to work for Sioux Manufacturing Corporation (SMC) as a secretary clerk in Ft. Totten. When the company was established, it was managed by white men from the Brunswick Corporation. But her tribe, the Spirit Lake Dakota, set the goal to train tribal members to become leaders in the company. She saw an opportunity for a higher education.

“I left being a secretary/clerk to get an undergraduate degree at University of North Dakota, and lo and behold, who was there but Karen Gayton Swisher and David Gipp (Who later became fellow tribal college presidents)! I was in college with other Indians!”

Lindquist says at the time there were not many other American Indian college students. But she persisted with her coursework from the 1970s to early 1980s, and returned to SMC with a bachelor’s degree in 1981. She became a manager.

“After five-six months, our chairman at the time, Elmer White, asked me to work for the tribe as the Health Director Planner. And that is how it all began. I was in that role for seven years. I got to know all about Indian health and health systems,” she says.

She went on to earn her master’s degree in public administration with an emphasis on Indian health systems from the University of South Dakota. For two-and-a-half years she studied while working and driving every two months to Rapid City, South Dakota—a 9- to 12-hour commute, depending on the weather.

“It was really intense. We got stuck in blizzards, you name it.” But she found that the opportunity for interacting with other Natives in the program were better this time: 15 of the 30 people in the program were Native, including Lynn Davis, the wife of Carty Monette, the former founding president of Turtle Mountain Community College.

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Like many of the people in her cohort, Lindquist says, “We never aspired to our roles. We were in the right place at the right time. Opportunity opened up. The self-determination movement was beginning around the late seventies and early eighties, and Indian Health Service (IHS) was working hard to establish Indian health programs.” Lindquist’s health career path eventually took her to doing Indian health work at the national level for IHS, working on a traditional medicine initiative for the agency. She was also the first political appointee for IHS, working as a Chief of Staff for the Director for the Clinton administration before returning to North Dakota, where she was appointed by Governor Ed Schafer as the Director of the North Dakota Indian Affairs Commission.

At the time of this interview, Lindquist had just returned from Washington D.C. for the American Indian Higher Education Consortium meetings at which tribal college presidents, faculty, staff, and students from across the country visited Capitol Hill to speak to elected officials to request funding support for TCUs and Native higher education.

Lindquist said, “When I reflect about last week, I realize we have come so far. Our students have a level of sophistication they didn’t have before. We do well to stress this while also emphasizing their culture, language, and Native values and what they mean. Education is really about being informed, seeing other sides, digging for information, while respecting other opinions and ideas and remaining grounded in our spirituality. Being Dakota means having a spiritual foundation, no matter what that is.”

During the time Lindquist was studying community medicine and rural health at Grand Forks working to establish an Indian health pathway to medical school, she was recruited by two tribal elders to apply for the position of president at Cankdeska Cikana Community College in her home community.

The transition was a logical one. In addition to hard work being a family value, education is, too. Lindquist’s mother was on the CCCC Board of Regents and was also a CCCC graduate “way before I became president.” Lindquist also had experience there, having taught classes when she was the tribe’s health director/planner.  She jumped at the chance.

“I have been there ever since. I love being back home, with my family, and with my Mom, who just turned 88 on Friday,” she said.

Things happen for a reason. Lindquist says her health care background equipped her perfectly for her role as a leader in a Native-serving higher education institution. “If people don’t have some concept of health and well-being, they cannot be a college student. You have to be physically, mentally, and spiritually healthy, and ask, ‘Am I a good role model?’”

Lindquist went on to earn a Ph.D. in educational leadership from the University of North Dakota in 2006. She used her educational path and healthcare grant-making experience to grow her campus. “I put in for every grant from multiple funding sources. I quadrupled the size of my campus in 15 years,” she says.

When she started at the college, it was housed “in a typical leftover federal building. The white walls were dirty and the building contained asbestos.” She wondered who would want to go to school there. After learning that abandoning the building was not an option due to financial investments the federal government and American Indian College Fund had made in it, she set to work cleaning it up.

“We made the renovations look seamless and tied the old in with the new,” she says. The campus buildings are now all connected, a necessity in the cold northern North Dakota winters.

In addition to physical growth, the college also doubled the number of graduates from when she started, maintains a reserve account, and has maintained spotless audits.

As a leader Lindquist says she is most proud of her college’s good data and transparency. “The community college belongs to the people. We want integrity there. We want to practice what we preach and give back to the community.”

Her employees share her commitment. Lindquist says they are devoted, resourceful, and efficient. “Ideally we should have one-third more employees, like a grant writer, a data specialist, and a transfer specialist. But we have good, qualified people. Our teachers drive 40-50 miles one way from small farming communities around the reservation. And when we have 40 graduates every May, we are as proud as could be. Many would not be college students without Cankdeska Cikana Community College.”

“There is a lot of historical trauma in our community. The suspicion of education in our communities still lingers. Slowly we are breaking it,” she says. She credits integrating prayer, culture, and language for that.

The role of a tribal college president isn’t just a job, it is a way of life for Lindquist. In addition to focusing her work on the Dakota way of life, her personal life reflects that, with a focus on prayer and family. She enjoys spending time in ceremonies and with her extended family of three children, eight grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren. She also enjoys gathering with other tribal college presidents, “Talking to each other, energizing each other, and helping keep things in perspective,” she says.

Lindquist’s Dakota name, Hoton Ho Waste Winyan, means Good Voice or Good Talk Woman, and was bestowed upon her in honor of her great grandmother. “To carry a Dakota name implies you speak the truth and from your heart,” she says.

And she carries it well.

“It’s good work. I am humbled and I am glad I am home and I am glad I got the experiences to be able to do what I do. It’s a privilege to do this work and know I have a team supporting me, all with the goal of student success.”

The 34 students named as Students of the Year are a testament to the hard work of the tribal college presidents as well as their individual commitments to education. The scholars honored include:

Aaniiih Nakoda College Shauntae St. Clair
Bay Mills Community College Alea Ward
Blackfeet Community College Lana Wagner
Cankdeska Cikana Community College Nicole Brown
Chief Dull Knife College Rebecca Cook
College of Menominee Nation Adam Schulz
College of the Muscogee Nation Dakota Kahbeah
Diné College Jordan Mescal
Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College Jeroam DeFoe
Fort Peck Community College Justin Gray Hawk Sr.
Haskell Indian Nations University Cody Lanyate
Illisagvik College Amber Downey
Institute of American Indian Arts Charlie Cuny
Keweenaw Bay Ojibwa Community College Joshua Robinson
Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwa Com. College Melissa Knop
Leech Lake Tribal College Alicia Bowstring
Little Big Horn College Yolanda Turnsplenty
Little Priest Tribal College Kellen Kelsey
Navajo Technical University Ashley Joe
Nebraska Indian Community College Cornelia Farley-Widow
Northwest Indian College Frank Lawrence
Nueta Hidatsa Sahnish College Caley Fox
Oglala Lakota College Jamie White Face
Saginaw Chippewa Tribal College Patrick Nahgahgwon
Salish Kootenai College JoDawna Tso
Sinte Gleska University Pauline Jackson
Sisseton Wahpeton College Deborah Anderson
Sitting Bull College Kaylie Trottier
Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute Martinez Wagner
Stone Child College McKenzie Gopher
Tohono O’odham Community College Diana Antone
Turtle Mountain Community College Samantha Bercier
United Tribes Technical College Austin Cree
White Earth Tribal and Community College Corey Weaver

About the American Indian College Fund

Founded in 1989, the American Indian College Fund has been the nation’s largest charity supporting Native higher education for more than 28 years. The College Fund believes “Education is the answer” and provided 6,548 scholarships last year totaling $7.6 million to American Indian students, with more than 125,000 scholarships totaling over $100 million since its inception. The College Fund also supports a variety of academic and support programs at the nation’s 35 accredited tribal colleges and universities, which are located on or near Indian reservations, ensuring students have the tools to graduate and succeed in their careers. The College Fund consistently receives top ratings from independent charity evaluators, and received a four-star rating from Charity Navigator and is one of the nation’s top 100 charities named to the Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance. For more information about the American Indian College Fund, please visit


The American Indian College Fund Names 35 Native American First-Generation Scholars to Receive Coca Cola Foundation Scholarship

american indian college fund logo

The American Indian College Fund and the Coca Cola Foundation honored 35 American Indian scholarship recipients at its 2017-18 Coca-Cola First Generation Scholarship banquet at the American Indian Higher Education Consortium Student Conference in Bismarck, North Dakota.

The Coca-Cola First Generation Scholarship was established for students who are the first in their families to attend college. The scholarships are renewable throughout the students’ tribal college careers if students maintain at least a 3.0 grade point average and show strong participation in campus and community life.

The following tribal college and university students were honored at the banquet for the 2017-18 academic year:

  • Aaniiih Nakoda College-Thomas Medicine Bear
  • Bay Mills Community College-Alea Ward
  • Blackfeet Community College-Laura Kipp
  • Cankdeska Cikana Community College-Lisa Jackson
  • Chief Dull Knife College-Cross Bearchum
  • College of Menominee Nation-Sabrina Hemken
  • College of the Muscogee Nation-Lucille Briggs
  • Dine College-Felisha Adams
  • Fond du Lac Tribal & Community College-Julie Isham
  • Fort Peck Community College-Jeromy Azure Jr
  • Haskell Indian Nations University-Thomas Berryhill
  • Ilisagvik College-Sarah Chagnon
  • Institute of American Indian Arts-Lashawn Medicine Horn
  • Keweenaw Bay Ojibwa Community College-Joshua Robinson
  • Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwa Community College-David Butler
  • Leech Lake Tribal College-Alicia Bowstring
  • Little Big Horn College-Marissa Roth
  • Little Priest Tribal College-Shamika Benally
  • Navajo Technical University-Dolly Goodman
  • Nebraska Indian Community College-Vandy Merrick
  • Northwest Indian College-Sheila Cooper
  • Nueta Hidatsa Sahnish College-Tammy Hammer
  • Oglala Lakota College-Lindsay Masquat
  • Saginaw Chippewa Tribal College-Jennifer Arnold
  • Salish Kootenai College-Irene Augare
  • Sinte Gleska University-Johnna Waln
  • Sisseton Wahpeton College-Raegina Renville
  • Sitting Bull College-Kaylie Trottier
  • Sitting Bull College-Helen Wilkinson
  • Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute –Genevieve Waquie
  • Stone Child College-Jennifer Wolf Chief
  • Tohono O’odham Community College-Ashley Jose
  • Turtle Mountain Community College –Shania Jeanotte
  • United Tribes Technical College –Brittany Whitebird
  • White Earth Tribal and Community College-Shelly Weaver

About the American Indian College Fund

Founded in 1989, the American Indian College Fund has been the nation’s largest charity supporting Native higher education for more than 28 years. The College Fund believes “Education is the answer” and provided 6,548 scholarships last year totaling $7.6 million to American Indian students, with more than 125,000 scholarships totaling over $100 million since its inception. The College Fund also supports a variety of academic and support programs at the nation’s 35 accredited tribal colleges and universities, which are located on or near Indian reservations, ensuring students have the tools to graduate and succeed in their careers. The College Fund consistently receives top ratings from independent charity evaluators, and received a four-star rating from Charity Navigator and is one of the nation’s top 100 charities named to the Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance. For more information about the American Indian College Fund, please visit

TFS Scholarships Launches Online Toolkit to Provide College Funding Resources

Education News

SALT LAKE CITY— TFS Scholarships (TFS), the most comprehensive online resource for higher education funding, has launched a free online toolkit to provide counselors, families and students with resources to help improve the college scholarship search process. The toolkit, available at, provides downloadable resources and practical tips on how to find and apply for scholarships.

The launch comes in celebration with Financial Aid Awareness Month when many families are beginning the FAFSA process and researching financial aid options.

“We hope these resources help raise awareness around TFS and the 7 million college scholarships available to undergraduate, graduate and professional students,” said Richard Sorensen, president of TFS Scholarships. “Our goal is to help families discover alternative ways to offset the rising costs of higher education.”

The resource toolkit includes flyers, email templates, newsletter content, digital banners and table toppers which are designed to be shareable content that counselors, students and organizations can use to spread the word about how to find free money for college.

The newly revamped TFS website curates over 7 million scholarship opportunities from across the country – with the majority coming directly from colleges and universities—and matches them to students based on their personal profile, where they want to study, and stage of academic study. By tailoring the search criteria, TFS identifies scholarships that students are uniquely qualified for, thus lowering the application pool and increasing the chances of winning. By creating an online profile, students can find scholarships representing more than $41 billion in aid. About 5,000 new scholarships are added to the database every month and appear in real time.

Thanks to exclusive financial support from Wells Fargo, the TFS website is completely ad-free, and no selling of data, making it a safe and trusted place to search.

For more information about Tuition Funding Sources visit


About TFS Scholarships

TFS Scholarships (TFS) is an independent service that provides free access to scholarship opportunities for aspiring and current undergraduate, graduate, and professional students. Founded in 1987, TFS began as a passion project to help students and has grown into the most comprehensive online resource for higher education funding. Today, TFS is a trusted place where students and families enjoy free access to more than 7 million scholarships representing more than $41 billion in college funding. In addition to its vast database that’s refreshed with 5,000 new scholarships every month, TFS also offers information about career planning, financial aid, and federal and private student loan programs as part of its commitment to helping students fund their future. Learn more at


UCLA Faculty Who Were First in Their Families to Go to College Help Others Like Them Overcome Fear, Self-Doubt

UCLA Student and Grad

Gerardo Ramirez remembers his first day of college as one filled with conflicting emotions. He was eager and excited to be starting his freshman year at California State University, Northridge, but at the same time, he was apprehensive and anxious, and feeling a lot of pressure.

“The entire week before, I had nightmares that I couldn’t find any of my classrooms,” recalls Ramirez, who was not only navigating the physical campus but also entering the strange, new world of higher education as the first in his family to go to high school and college.

“I felt worried that I wouldn’t be able to do something as basic as find a class,” he says, “and that uncertainty in my abilities was a common concern for me throughout my undergrad years.”

Ramirez is now an assistant professor in UCLA’s Department of Psychology and one of approximately 100 UCLA faculty members, all former first-generation college students, who are participating in a new effort to offer support and encouragement to prospective and current first-generation UCLA students. More than 30 percent of UCLA undergraduates fall into that category.

Helping first-generation students feel connected

The UCLA First Generation Faculty Campaign is part of a broader effort to raise the visibility of first-generation faculty members across the University of California. At UCLA, the campaign is operating in collaboration with the First to Go program, which focuses on the retention and success of UCLA students.

“This campaign is intended to demystify the faculty rank for students and lets them know that behind the podium are many people whose roots are very similar to their own, and that a similar prestigious end is possible for them in whatever career path they are pursuing,” says Patricia Turner, senior dean of the UCLA College who was a first-generation college student who grew up in Sag Harbor, New York, where her mother cleaned houses and her father ran a farm in nearby Bridgehampton.

Originally from Virginia, neither of her parents completed high school.

First-generation students commonly face unique challenges when coming to college, says Turner, including pressure to improve their family’s economic situation, a narrow understanding of academic and professional opportunities, and lack of mentors.

Turner, who attended State University of New York, Oneonta, and UC Berkeley, says that highly competitive schools like UCLA can be especially intimidating for first-gen students who sometimes believe that professors at UCLA, one of the world’s leading universities, couldn’t possibly relate to them on a personal level.

“Academic success is linked to students believing that they belong to the institution,” says Turner, noting that more than 90 percent of first-generation students at UCLA graduate. “Students need to feel connected, and the response we have received to this program reinforces my belief that our faculty members are deeply committed to the undergraduate experience at UCLA.”

It’s especially important for first-generation students to complete their studies and inspire other prospective first-generation students because of what a college degree can mean economically to their future, their families, communities and society. According to a study by the Georgetown Center on Education and the Workforce published in 2014, those who have bachelor’s degrees earn on average $1 million more than high school graduates over the course of a lifetime. In addition, Ph.D. holders earn $1 million more than bachelor’s degree holders.

Inspiring others to succeed

Being in college won Ramirez respect among his siblings and other family members, many of whom looked to him as an example of what is possible with hard work and dedication to academics. He also was able to offer them one-on-one counseling — something many lower-income high school students often don’t receive — and guide them on college admission requirements and financial aid and application deadlines, among other details.

As a college student, Ramirez avoided mentioning his first-generation status, but as a UCLA professor, he proudly shares his personal story with his students at the beginning of each quarter.

It’s this kind of support and perspective that inspired fourth-year cognitive science major and first-generation college student Denise Peralta to apply for graduate school after she completes her bachelor’s degree in June. “He (Ramirez) was the only professor to encourage me to go straight into a Ph.D. program. I wasn’t confident that I was ready, but, after hearing his story, I understood why he was pushing me, and I thought I could do it.”

Ramirez also opened her eyes to the importance of being involved in undergraduate research and helped her explore opportunities both at UCLA and other institutions. Peralta currently works in Ramirez’s research lab and hopes to one day teach math at a middle school similar to the one she attended in East Los Angeles. Her career aspirations are driven by a desire to foster a love of math and learning, and to serve as a positive role model.

“I want my students to see someone who looks like them, who came from the same neighborhood or one like theirs — and show them that success and a bright future are within their reach,” Peralta says. “I want them to say, ‘If she can do it, I can do it.’ And first-gen college students also need this kind of encouragement. This campaign gives us that.”

Advice from those who walked a similar path

Born in Brooklyn, New York, Paul Kroskrity became a first-generation college student after growing up in Long Island, New York, and later in Connecticut. He joined UCLA’s Department of Anthropology as a professor 40 years ago and served as chair of the American Indian Studies Program for 26 years. He believes that UCLA and the UC campuses in general are the perfect place for these efforts to flourish.

“The reason why this [First to Go] program is so good is that we have a really high quality institution, but we also admit students that are more diverse than those at the average university,” says Kroskrity, adding that UC campuses are an engine for social mobility. At other universities, he says, it’s not unusual for students who are the third or fourth generation in their families to attend college.

Kroskrity, who graduated from Columbia University and Indiana University, encourages first-generation students to get engaged, stay involved and not allow themselves to be constrained by self-imposed barriers or self-doubt.

“If you start limiting yourself by your own sense of what you are not capable of, or what you don’t know about, or how awkward you feel because it’s something new, you just don’t get the full experience,” says Kroskrity, whose mother didn’t complete high school and whose father was limited in his career because he lacked a college education.

“Take academic risks, talk to people that you might not have considered speaking to before, including your professors,” the UCLA anthropologist advises. “Reach out to people and get the full value of this experience. UCLA exists for them. You are not going to get these four years back, so use them in the best ways possible.”