Juris Doctor, University of New Mexico School of Law, 2007
A.A. Lakota History and Culture, Sinte Gleska University, 2001
What professional hat do you wear?
My work includes concept development, strategic planning and collaboration, program management and implementation, national outreach, and support the tribal colleges and universities (TCUs) to develop capital infrastructure projects.
What does a day in your life look like now?
My day generally includes 1-2 meetings with our President and CEO or colleagues on projects/concepts or teleconferences with TCUs, along with knowledge gathering and email throughout the day.
I also travel a couple times a month to visit a TCU or to national meeting or regional meetings. I believe in a work-life-family balance. I travel home to my tribal nation to visit my family monthly. I try to practice yoga daily and include a walk or run when I can. I also quilt or bead every evening.
What inspires you to go to work every day?
I believe that “education is the answer” to social justice and change and equity. I value the opportunity and responsibility to be an advocate for Native students and Native people. I am always amazed by the resiliency and remain hopeful that this world can be a better place for Native people.
How did your degree set you up?
Prior to transferring to CSU I worked full-time as a wildland firefighter for the Bureau of Indian Affairs and volunteered for the Rosebud Sioux Tribal Ambulance Service as an EMT-Intermediate while attending classes at Sinte Gleska University (a tribal university). I initially pursued my degree so that I would have the educational background to be a Fire Management Officer.
However, I went to law school right after I graduated from CSU because I was a single parent of an 8 year old son and I wanted our life in college and law school to be contiguous. While in law school I served on the Natural Resources Journal staff and have a certificate in Natural Resources Law.
My career since college and law school has taken many different routes, varying from a tribal prosecutor, to an adjunct instructor, to program management, public health research and evaluation. My college education helped me prepare for those roles and has been vital to my work in program development and implementation, strategic planning, qualitative research, writing, curriculum implementation, and evaluation with tribal nations and colleges and using a capacity-building approach.
What words of wisdom can you offer current students?
Relationships with classmates and professors are important. They may serve as a support system and resources when you venture on your next journey after graduation.
Don’t take for granted the information you are learning and always ask questions. There is always more to learn.
Finally, enjoy college and this time in your life. It’s hard to find the time and flexibility you can enjoy in college when you are out in the working world.
What motto do you live by?
Nake Nula Waun – I am ready, I am prepared for anything, anytime, anywhere! (A Lakota expression)