Meet a Few AIS College Scholarship Recipients
Karyn Walker, Zuni
UVU, Bachelor’s in Legal Studies
Kumen Louis, Navajo
BYU, Bachelor’s in Teaching
Nakita Nez, Navajo
BYU, Bachelor’s in Medical Assisting
Navajo | Anthropology Major
Jeremy Seaton is a full blooded Navajo Indian, born and raised on the Navajo reservation. He speaks fluent Navajo, as well as English and Spanish. He says life was harsh on the reservation, but it was these challenges that helped build his character and it taught him discipline and responsibility at a very young age. He grew up herding sheep and cattle, learned to grow and harvest corn, squash, and melons, slept on dirt floors with a sheep’s skin as bedding, hauled water from the local spring for drinking as well as washing clothes and bathing, chopped wood for cooking, and read books by kerosene lantern because there was no electricity. With the encouragement of his father and his grandparents, he is pursuing a college education, majoring in Anthropology with a concentration in Ethnology.
Choctaw | Criminal Justice Major
Brittany Gaines was raised in Garden Grove, CA. Brittany is a member of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma. Brittany is attending California State University of Los Angeles, pursuing a degree in Criminal Justice. After graduation she plans on participating in an internship with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms. She would like to become a probation officer for juveniles. She believes, “if you help them when they are young they have a better chance in the future.”
Navajo | Native American Studies Major
Michael Brown grew up in Northwest New Mexico, a member of the Navajo Nation. He is 41 years old and has been married for 22 years. They have two children. His path to college started six years ago when he was coaching high school girl’s basketball, and the head coach told him “he had a knack for teaching.” This inspired him, along with the pressures of providing for a family, to go back to school and get a degree. Michael is attending the University of New Mexico where he is majoring in Native American Studies. He wants to eventually teach students about how they can empower themselves through education. Michael also wants to play an instrumental part in the revitalization and restoration of his native language. He hopes to go on to graduate school or possibly law school.
Salt River Pima-Maricopa | Business Administration & Management Major
Brandan Paukgana is from the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community. He is pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration and Management from the Universidad Hispana in Arizona. He has worked with AmeriCorps Tutor helping children improve reading skills and adults prepare to take their GED’s. He was also employed as a health educator and taught children how to make and prepare healthy food and make lifestyle changes. He has devoted his energy to volunteer and service work in his community.
Navajo | Construction Management Major
Gaylon Begay is a Navajo originally from Lechee, AZ on the Indian reservation. He is attending Salt Lake Community College majoring in Construction Management. While in school, he is working full-time in the Human Resource Department for a construction company. Gaylon is gaining valuable work experience. He dreams of one day owning his own construction company. Growing up on the reservation showed him there is a “strong need for education in this field.” He wants to one day provide work for people on the reservation.
Paiute | Social Work Major
Meryl Barlow is a member of the Bishop Paiute Tribe in California. She is a senior at the University of Montana majoring in Social Work. She received an internship with the United States Department of Agriculture in Washington D. C. This experience confirmed her desire to work with people and make a difference in the Native community. Meryl was raised by a single mother and is the oldest of six children. She hopes to encourage her “siblings and other youth to follow in her footsteps.”
Navajo | Physical Therapy Major
Janessa Harrison is a member of the Navajo tribe. She grew up in Farmington, NM. She was active in sports in high school playing on the volleyball, and basketball teams. Janessa is attending Dixie State College where she plans on pursuing a degree in Physical Therapy. She is a single mother of a one-year old son. Janessa is aware of the challenges she faces having grown up in a single-parent household, but believes education is the key to overcoming those challenges.