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Success Stories

Below are profiles of some of the students who have benefited from the support the American Indian College Fund has provided. If you are a student or alumnus who would like to share your success story, please click here to submit your information.


 Alli: Cheyenne River Lakota Nation

Alli is in her third year at the Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA), pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Indigenous liberal studies (ILS) and a certificate in business and entrepreneurship. She chose to attend IAIA because they offered courses infused with indigenous perspectives…. READ MORE

Brennan: Menominee

Brennan (Menominee) is a first-generation college student studying biological and physical sciences at the College of Menominee Nation…. READ MORE

Brett: Standing Rock Sioux

Brett, a decorated Veteran, is putting his values of service and hard work to the test at United Tribes Technical College, where he is studying to earn a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice… READ MORE

Dahkota: Wilton Rancheria

Dahkota Kicking Bear Brown: One of Our #ReasonsforHope… READ MORE

Demetria: Navajo

A defining symbol of success for Demetria is not in the paycheck or the praise, but in the sense of accomplishment. Indeed, she has already done a lot for her family, peers, and community. “I’m doing it,” she says, “and I’m trying my hardest.” … READ MORE

Diana: Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate

Diana Canku (Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate), president of Sisseton Wahpeton College and a 2009-10 academic year fellow in the American Indian College Fund’s Andrew W. Mellon Career Enhancement Program, successfully defended her dissertation and completed her doctorate degree… READ MORE

Dr. Harriett Skye: Lakota, Standing Rock

Dr. Harriett Skye (Lakota, Standing Rock) achieved a lot in her lifetime before retiring from United Tribes Technical College. In addition to her many accomplishments, she earned a Ph.D. in ethnic studies (emphasis on Native American Studies) and directed a documentary film, “The Right to Be,” an autobiographical story about her journey as an American Indian woman on the pathway of self-awareness and higher education. The film was screened at the Sundance Film Festival in 1994… READ MORE

Erika: Chippewa-Cree

Erika is an enrolled member of the Chippewa-Cree tribe in Rocky Boy, Montana who grew up caring for a younger brother and sister while her mother worked. “My mom, siblings, and I moved around a lot because my mom was constantly looking for employment,” she says. “It was very hard for us financially and there was only enough money to pay for basic necessities such as rent, food, and utilities… Some months we had to depend on my grandparents to help us out.” … READ MORE

Joaquin and Anjelica: Jicarilla Apache/ Pueblo of Santa Ana

Academic achievement is a family affair with this brother-sister duo of Joaquin and Anjelica (Jicarilla Apache and Santa Ana Pueblo)… READ MORE

Joel: Caddo

New MBA Joel Smith (Caddo) Pays Success Forward… READ MORE

Marian: White Mountain Apache

Marian grew up on the Fort Apache reservation in Arizona, where she was adopted by her aunt when I was about two years old. She says she spent her younger years wondering why she was adopted and why her biological mother didn’t try to get her back. She decided to put all of her energy into school and excelled… READ MORE

Marilyn: Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska

Family Matters: Mother and Daughter Reflection on College, Success… READ MORE

Mono: Navajo

Mono is an engineering student who will integrate technology and health to improve his community… READ MORE

Nora: Sicangu Lakota

Nora Antoine, a Ph.D. Leadership and Change student at Antioch University and a 2013 Mellon Faculty Enhancement Doctoral fellow, has upcoming dissertation work focused on engagement of full-time faculty to explore professional relationships among TCU faculty… READ MORE

Patricia: Dine/Navajo

Patricia (Navajo) is a student that gives her community a reason to smile—literally. As a dental hygiene major, Patricia plans to work on her reservation to help reduce high rates of oral decay and disease… READ MORE

Robert: Crow

Robert knew he had to turn his life around. Graduating from Little Big Horn College made it possible for him to help himself and others in his tribe as a licensed addition counselor. Robert works in Crow Agency, Montana, where he incorporates his own experiences with alcoholism and his education and training at his job in the wellness center there to help others fight the disease that plagues many Indian communities… READ MORE

Shera: Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa

Shera is a first-generation college student. As a young woman in high school, she showed academic and civic promise. She was involved with the Future Business Leaders of America and the National Honor Society. Outside of school, she volunteered at the summer youth camp at her church as a mentor… READ MORE

Sunny Walker-Guillory: Standing Rock Sioux

Sunny: From Student to Teacher… READ MORE

Waylon: Lummi and Northern Cheyenne

Waylon (Lummi and Northern Cheyenne) is one of a small number of American Indian college graduates. Only 13% of American Indian students age 25 or older have a college degree—115% below the national level. Too often talented Native students forego a college education due to finances. For Waylon, a talented young man who comes from a traditional Lummi fishing family in the Pacific Northwest, college was something his family could not afford… READ MORE