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Our Inaugural Scholars Program was a Success!

Our Inaugural Scholars Program was a Success!

This year, we celebrate our brand new Scholars Program, under the leadership of Director Mikaela Crank Thinn. After years of fundraising and planning, the hard work paid off as our newest College Horizons program became reality and took place on Lawrence University's campus in Appleton, Wisconsin. Lawrence most recently hosted College Horizons for the third time in 2016. We are grateful to everybody's hard work on the planning committee and to Lawrence University for hosting us in our first year of this new and exciting initiative.

The inaugural Scholars Program took place this past summer from July 15 to August 5, 2017. There were 19 Scholars representing 9 tribal nations who have since started attending 16 different colleges and universities. 53% were coming from rural communities on or nearby their tribal reservations. 74% were first generation college students. The goal of the Scholars Program is to help College Horizons alumni acclimate to their first year of college. The Scholars Program aims to prepare students by addressing their holistic needs and making college relevant by connecting their culture and community to their college experience.

As part of the program, students took one writing seminar by Julie Haurykiewicz and Brigetta Miller, one lecture course by Dr. Adrienne Keene, one success strategies class by Kate Zoromski, and one cultural transition course led by the Director of the Scholars Program and our interns. The lecture course served as an introduction to critical race theory and the cultural transition class helped students learn how to navigate college structures. On the weekends, students took trips to the nearby Oneida and Menominee Nations.

Each week the Scholars Program also incorporated a different wellness theme. The first week, Dr. Virgil Moorehead came to discuss mental health, digital storytelling and the importance of balance, healing, and play. The second week, Well for Culture visited with the Scholars to teach the group about fitness, nutrition, stress relief and looking to tribal values to indigenize health. The third week, the group applied what they learned from the first part of the program and they took two yoga classes, one meditation class and completed their digital stories.

Similar to other summer bridge programs, the Scholars Program is focused on academic and success strategies. The students are learning about mindset, resilience, interdependence, traditional academic skills including note taking, test prep, study strategies, and time management. However, in addition, the Scholars are learning skills around resiliency, understanding the intersectionality of race, ethnicity, gender, and tribal citizenship in higher education. The Scholars Program is directly discussing potential socio-cultural challenges that Native students may encounter at predominantly white institutions and strategies to help in overcoming those challenges.

A committee of seven members helped ensure that the Scholars Program was tailored to meet the needs of our students. The members included all four Scholars teaching faculty and three professors with expertise in psychology, education and the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship. In addition, College Horizons is working closely with a Native evaluator who is helping to indigenize our research process.

Currently, the Scholars Program is about to kick off our year-round advising for all Scholars who participated in the inaugural program as well as any other interested CH alums who are in their first year of college. The next Scholars Program will take place from July 7 to 28, 2018 and the application will be released in March 2018. If you are interested in the 2018 Scholars Program or if you are a CH alum and first year college student interested in the advising program, please contact mikaela@collegehorizons.org or 505-414-1010.

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