American Indian College Fund Staff Member to Speak at Mental Health Summit

Apr 27, 2023 | Blog, Good News, Inside the College Fund

Nicolette Weston will Co-Present on Mental Health Support for Students from Historically Marginalized Communities

The American Indian College Fund’s Transfer and Admissions Program Administrator, Nicolette Weston, will speak at the National Scholarship Providers Association’s (NSPA) Mental Health Summit on Tuesday, May 2, 2023. The National Scholarship Providers Association focuses on advancing the collective impact of scholarship providers and the awards they offer. Mental Health Matters, NSPA’s two-day virtual health summit, carries out this goal by providing the staff of scholarship providers with tools for self-care that can be used by funding organizations and scholars alike.

Weston will be partnering with Elijah Hopkins, Vice President for Student Services at Fort Peck Community College, on a presentation titled, “Mental Health and Cultural Supports for Ethnically and Demographically Diverse Student Groups.” They will share strategies for providing culturally appropriate mental health support to Native youth and how these same strategies can be adapted to serve students from other populations.

This is not Weston’s first time speaking at an NSPA conference on the topic of mental health and wellness regarding Native communities. However, this is the first time she will be speaking at the mental health summit. Weston said the hope is to show how scholarship providers can create spaces and opportunities for students of color to enhance their natural skills and allow them to fill leadership roles. As Weston points out, it’s not that Native students or other students of color aren’t represented, it’s just that they aren’t seen.

Weston, who holds a degree in social work, has a diverse career history to pull from when speaking on this topic. Her previous positions include supporting foster children, prisoner re-entry programs, and the Indian Child Welfare Act. She identifies culture, and the values that come with it, as the one constant in life that many can hold onto. Her values and experiences lead her to conclude that students must be supported in a comprehensive manner.

“If we focus solely on students having a high grade point average they can burn out before they are able to enter a field they enjoy. If we don’t provide resources that help them to take care of themselves physically and spiritually then we aren’t truly supporting their success, because it is about succeeding at life and not just in school.”

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Jasmine Neosh (Menominee), University of Michigan law student, College of Menominee Nation alumna, and American Indian College Fund student ambassador says, “I vote so that the people who make the change that our communities need have the best possible partners in that fight. While real change often comes through the work of organizers and boots on the ground, the people that we elect can either be our allies or our opposition. Either way, having some say in that choice seems like our responsibility as future ancestors.”