Students at AISESCharmayne (Navajo),
a Navajo Technical University student studying Building Information Modeling and Walmart Foundation Scholarship recipient through the American Indian College Fund, has the goal of earning an engineering degree firmly in her sights. A job with the Office of Environmental Health & Engineering Department as an Engineering Assistant, which has given her the opportunity to work and attend college, has given her “the gift of defining the purpose of my life.”

Charmayne is assisting Field Engineers and Engineering Technicians in general surveying and surveying potential construction projects within Eastern Navajo Agency.  She says this has inspired her to continue her education in the field. “I am preparing drawing and sketches in the field for individual homes from rough drawings and sketches and drafts for project summaries and construction plans that are reviewed by higher-level technicians.  I interpret for the non-Indian staff and with individuals who do not understand English. I believe that with the knowledge and skills I have attained and through continuing my education, I will be able to contribute more to my Navajo communities.”

Charmayne attended the annual American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES) National Conference in Orlando, Florida in November, thanks to the Walmart Foundation and the American Indian College Fund. It was her first trip on an airplane, and she says, “I didn’t know what to expert from the plane ride so I just sat back and let the plane fly.” And fly she did…

In Florida, Charmayne set her sights to the sky, attending many pre-college sessions, and preparing her mentally for the intellectual demands of college. She also attended sessions on interviewing, internships, and jobs, and has already begun applying for new challenges to give her more experience in the field. Charmayne says the conference confirmed her desire to be an engineer, and aligned her goals with those of the conference—to develop her knowledge and skills so that she will be a professional leader in the STEM field.

Charmayne said the program helped her realize how important it is get her degree, to continue working hard towards that goal, and to never give up on her dream. She added it was important for her and other American Indians, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians to attend to instill self-confidence so they can follow their dreams, while also inspiring others to follow their own and helping them believe they can achieve.