NSU Alumni Association honors 2 Cherokees

08/14/2017 12:00 PM
TAHELQUAH, Okla. – The Northeastern State University Alumni Association board of directors has chosen two Cherokee Nation citizens as 2017 honorees of the university’s Distinguished Alumnus awards.

CN Deputy Chief S. Joe Crittenden and Julie Erb-Alvarez were selected as distinguished alumni and will receive their honors on Sept. 29 at the Alumni Association Honors Dinner and again Sept. 30 at the homecoming Emerald Ball. Both events are open to the public.

Awards are presented annually to NSU alumni who, through personal achievement and service, have brought honor and distinction to both themselves and the university, a NSU release states.

Crittenden graduated from NSU in 1974 with a bachelor’s degree in accounting and business administration. Crittenden has previously served on the Tribal Council, as the Eastern Oklahoma vice president for the National Congress of American Indians and as a U.S. Postal Service postmaster. He is also a Navy veteran.

“It is an honor to receive this award from Northeastern State University,” Crittenden said. “It has been 43 years since I graduated from the university, and I still wear my gold NSU class ring every single day. I was an atypical college student, returning to school after serving in the U.S. Navy during Vietnam. However, I was blessed to receive an excellent education at NSU, and what I learned there helped guide me on a long career of public service.”

Crittenden has given back to NSU by supporting the tribe’s efforts to restore Seminary Hall and install modern classroom technologies. He also offers support and advice to youth in their pursuit of higher-education opportunities.

“I am proud to say I am an alum of a school that is so committed to Native students and developing leaders for Indian Country,” Crittenden said. “Cherokee Nation and NSU have established one of the most unique and successful collaborations between a tribal government and public higher education institution.”

NSU President Dr. Steve Turner said Crittenden was extraordinarily qualified to be recognized as a distinguished alumnus.

“His career path is highlighted by many years of service to the Cherokee Nation and to our country. I am so excited for Joe and his family and am honored to call him friend,” Turner said.

Erb-Alvarez is a distinguished epidemiologist and chief of patient recruitment for the National Institutes of Health’s National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute who graduated from NSU in 1993 with a bachelor’s degree in health and human performance.

She continued her education at the University of Oklahoma, earning a master’s degree in epidemiology. She has served as an epidemiologist for the Oklahoma Tribal Epidemiology Center, the Indian Health Service and the Bureau of Public Health, Ministry of Health in the Republic of Palau.

Erb-Alvarez was commissioned into the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps in 2010 and was deployed to Monrovia, Liberia in response to the Ebola crisis in West Africa in 2014-15. She is a life member of the NSU Alumni Association.

“I was truly honored when I received the call from NSU President Steve Turner. I was completely surprised and really excited when he told me I had been selected as one of the 2017 Distinguished Alumni. And then when explained who the other honorees were, it instilled another sense of pride and emotion. I am deeply grateful for this honor, and am completely humbled with the company I now keep, with those who are also being honored this year and those who have been honored in the past,” she said. “I look forward to NSU Homecoming Weekend in September when I can come back to my beloved alma mater and experience NSU all these many years later. I can’t wait to talk with students, educators, other professionals and friends – those who helped build my education – and share my post-graduation career and life experiences. I want them all to know and understand how much NSU has given me. I had a very solid foundation thanks to my years at NSU. It was easy for me to find my way and excel after an educational experience like that. Both of my parents are NSU graduates, and I was born while my parents were students and living at NSU married student housing. I have a long, long and wonderful history with NSU. The fact that NSU began as a Cherokee Seminary gives it all the more meaning to me as a Cherokee citizen.”

Turner said Erb-Alvarez has amassed an outstanding list of accomplishments since her time at NSU.”

“Her commitment to preserving the health of the nation and serving others through the National Institute of Health and the United States Public Health Service is admirable and makes her more than deserving of this honor,” he said.


11/21/2017 12:00 PM
SEATTLE – A newly released report highlights the challenges facing urban Native American youths in public schools and showcases seven alternative public education programs that are positively impacting these challenges. The report, “Resurgence: Restructuring Urban American Indian Education,” was released Nov. 16 by the National Urban Indian Family Coalition. According to a release, it tracks the history of the U.S. public education system’s relationship with Native American communities and the ongoing disparities that exist within academic achievement data for urban American Indian students, commonly referred to as “the achievement gap.” The report states that educators and administrators have worked with policy officials and the philanthropic community to reform the system to close this achievement gap, but the gap still persists for all students of color and is especially bleak for urban American Indian students. “We wanted to provide a roadmap for other urban Indigenous communities to follow on behalf of their own students,” Dr. Joe Hobot, the report’s author, said. “I hope (the report) will spark further evaluation and discussion by those involved in this arena.” The report identifies six major urban centers – Denver, Seattle, Albuquerque, Portland, Minneapolis and Los Angeles – that have high concentrations of American Indian students who attend local public schools and investigates seven alternative education programs offered to these students in each city. The report states these alternative education programs leverage traditional Indigenous culture as a means of securing academic achievement and have earned respect and widespread support from the urban American Indian communities they serve. “Education is an extremely critical area of need and attention for urban Indian communities across the country,” NUIFC Executive Director Janeen Comenote said. “The NUIFC is proud to be able to amplify the voices and practices of the phenomenal sites and schools highlighted in this critically needed work.” Edgar Villanueva, Schott Foundation for Public Education vice president and one of the report’s sponsors, said closing the achievement gap is just the beginning. “Policy leaders, philanthropic partners and community leaders must also focus beyond academic achievement to close the opportunity gaps that contribute to inequitable education outcomes,” Villanueva said. “Closing the opportunity gap is the only way we will make progress toward closing academic achievement gaps that separate most American Indian, black and Hispanic students from their white peers.” Visit <a href="http://nuifc.org" target="_blank">http://nuifc.org</a> for more information or a copy of the report.
Reporter – @cp_sguthrie
11/20/2017 12:00 PM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – Students from the Tahlequah area had the opportunity to learn about colleges, universities and vocational schools during the Cherokee Nation’s College and Career Night at Sequoyah School’s “The Place Where They Play” gym, with a second event planned for Nov. 30 in Vinita. “The College and Career Night was a way for us to inform students and the parents about scholarship opportunities not only available from Cherokee Nation, but from federal and state sources that they may qualify for, like FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid), to attend either vo-tech or college,” Jennifer Pigeon, CN finance manager and College Resources interim manager, said. With 22 representatives present from schools such as Northeastern State University, University of Oklahoma and Oklahoma State University, Pigeon said the event allowed students and their families the opportunity to learn about schools and programs. “This night is important to us so that we can help share opportunities, let families meet the various colleges that are available, any vo-techs that they might want to attend and to familiarize themselves with application processes, admission criteria. Some schools offer scholarships that are only available at their school, so this will let them know about some of those opportunities that are available,” she said. Aside from meeting school representatives, Pigeon said students also had the chance to attend higher learning-related presentations. “We are going to have a presentation from FAFSA, and then Indian Capital (Technology Center) from Tahlequah will do a presentation followed by (CN) Career Services, who will let us know what they offer to assist in that area, and then we’ll talk about colleges,” she said. CN citizen Hannah Hudgens, a Sallisaw High School senior, said although she knows what her plans for the future entail, she thought it would be good to attend to learn of tribal scholarships. “I know I want to do speech language pathology, but I was just wondering what the Cherokee Nation could help me do in terms of scholarships and giving back to my tribal heritage,” she said. She said she encourages other high school students to take “advantage” of available opportunities. “Just take advantage of the opportunities around you in terms of scholarships and just learn more about Cherokee heritage,” she said. OU College of Nursing academic advisor Dawn Johnson said she hoped to speak with students who had an interest in nursing. “We have several programs at the undergraduate level, but the one that high school students may be most interested in is what we refer to as the traditional BSN (bachelor of science in nursing) program,” she said. “This is a program where you take two years of your basic prerequisites and you could do that close to home. You could do it at OU-Norman or at another accredited school and then you would apply to the College of Nursing and you would be with us for two years.” Johnson said the event gives students the opportunity to find out that college is “accessible” regardless of career choice. “I just think this affords them an excellent opportunity to find out what opportunities are available, what scholarships, what might be the best fit for them as far as a career, but also a school,” she said. Pigeon said a second event was planned for 5:30 p.m. on Nov. 30 at the Craig County Fairgrounds and Community Center in Vinita.
11/08/2017 04:00 PM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. — The Cherokee Nation’s College Resource Center is hosting two College & Career Night events in November – one in Tahlequah and a second in Vinita. On Nov. 14, representatives from at least a dozen colleges and universities as well as vocational schools at 5:30 p.m. will be at Sequoyah Schools’ The Place Where They Play in Tahlequah. Visitors will receive information on CN’s college and vocational scholarships and on the Free Application for Student Aid or FAFSA. A similar event will be held at 5:30 p.m. on Nov. 30 in the Craig County Fairgrounds and Community Center in Vinita, with college and university representatives as well as vocational school representatives on site. “We know it is never too early for students and their families to begin thinking about life after high school, including the scholarship and career opportunities they might have,” Ron Etheridge, Education Services deputy executive director, said. “These are important decisions for students. We believe the College & Career Night events in Tahlequah and Vinita will make the process more informative and convenient by placing all of these resources together in one setting.” Doors will open at 5 p.m. and both events are free and open to the public. Refreshments and door prizes will be available. The grand prize is a Dell laptop computer. For more information, email <a href="mailto: chrissy-marsh@cherokee.org">chrissy-marsh@cherokee.org</a> or <a href="mailto: jennifer-pigeon@cherokee.org">jennifer-pigeon@cherokee.org</a>.
11/07/2017 12:00 PM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – The Cherokee Nation Foundation recently completed its “Leave a Legacy” matching campaign, which created more than $200,000 in new scholarship opportunities for Cherokee students. The campaign, launched in 2016, allocated $100,000 to match gifts ranging from $5,000 to $25,000 on a first-come, first-served basis. Two recent endowments helped CNF achieve its fundraising goal. “The matching campaign has been a huge success, and we can’t thank everyone enough for the support and encouragement along the way,” CNF Executive Director Janice Randall said. “Our board of directors, (Principal) Chief (Bill John) Baker and many council members played a huge role in helping us spread the word about this opportunity, and we are so happy to see so many people take part in creating opportunities for Cherokee students.” The Peruzzi Family Scholarship was established to honor the memory of Faye Fogleman Kircher, a longtime educator from Locust Grove. The scholarship will support a student living within the Cherokee Nation’s jurisdiction who is enrolled full time at a four-year, post-secondary institution. The Beauchamp family of Fayetteville, Arkansas, established its fund to honor the legacy of Alan Beauchamp. The parameters of this scholarship are to be determined. At a Sept. 26 meeting, the CNF board voted unanimously to continue matching qualifying donations beyond the $100,000, as funds allow. “We know that there is no greater investment we can make than in the education of our youth, but the simple truth is that we can’t do it alone,” Tonya Rozell, CNF board president, said. “By extending the matching program, we hope to find new partners interested in honoring a legacy and creating new opportunities for Cherokee students. We are certainly more effective when we work together and combine our resources.” Anyone interested in establishing an endowment is encouraged to call Randall at (918) 207-0950 or email <a href="mailto: jr@cherokeenationfoundation.org">jr@cherokeenationfoundation.org</a>. For more information on scholarship opportunities or to apply online, visit <a href="http://www.cherokeenationfoundation.org" target="_blank">www.cherokeenationfoundation.org</a>.
11/03/2017 04:00 PM
ADA, Okla. – Sequoyah High School’s drama department placed fourth overall in the Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association’s One-Act Play Competition on Oct. 28 on the East Central University campus. Teams were judged on their sets, crew loads in and loads out of the set, acting abilities and directing, with rules requiring the production be completed in less than 45 minutes. To qualify, the SHS drama team first competed at regionals held Oct. 6 at Oologah High School where it placed second, advancing to state. SHS senior Katelyn Morton and junior Michael Lenaburg received All-State actor awards and will receive All-State letter jackets for the achievements. “I’ve been acting under my drama mama and teacher, Mrs. (Amanda) Ray, since I started as a freshman at Sequoyah Schools. To achieve the All-State actor award as a senior is very special to me. I want to thank fellow All-State actor Michael Lenaburg, my SHS drama team and Mrs. Ray for allowing me to take part in this awesome competition,” Morton said. For more information on Sequoyah’s drama department, call 918-453-5400.
Reporter – @cp_bbennett
10/31/2017 12:00 PM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – Current and upcoming college students seeking higher education funding can apply for several scholarships with the Cherokee Nation Foundation beginning Nov. 1. Students must visit www.cherokeenation.academicworks.com and create an account to complete the general scholarship application, which closes Jan. 31. Once completed, the system will match students to individual scholarships for which they are eligible to apply. The general application takes approximately 15 to 20 minutes to complete and will require students to have their Certificate Degree of Indian Blood cards, copies of their most recent transcripts and contact information for personal references. Scholarships are awarded on an annual basis and selected recipients will be announced in April. More than 15 scholarships are available, with some being tailored to a specific field of study such as pottery, business, engineering or psychology. Some scholarships are also specific to the institution in which a student is enrolled such as Oklahoma State University, Rogers State University and the University of Tulsa. Each scholarship has specific requirements, including meeting a minimum grade-point-average and location of residence. The Bill Rabbit Legacy Art Scholarship is also open to Cherokee Nation and United Keetoowah Band citizens alike. Students are encouraged to review all requirements before submitting their applications. CNF scholarships are not income-based, Whitney Dittman, Cherokee Nation Businesses public relations specialist, said. This means students will not have to produce income statements or documents relating to the Free Application for Federal Student Aid or FAFSA when completing their applications. CNF officials announced on Oct. 27 that the organization has raised more than $200,000 in scholarship opportunities due to its “Leave a Legacy” matching campaign. “The matching campaign has been a huge success, and we can’t thank everyone enough for the support and encouragement along the way,” CNF Executive Director Janice Randall said. “Our board of directors, (Principal) Chief (Bill John) Baker and many council members played a huge role in helping us spread the word about this opportunity, and we are so happy to see so many people take part in creating opportunities for Cherokee students.” The announcement follows a Sept. 26 meeting in which CNF board members voted to continue matching qualifying donations beyond $100,000, as funding allows. “We know that there is no greater investment we can make than in the education of our youth, but the simple truth is that we can’t do it alone,” Tonya Rozell, CNF board president, said. “By extending the matching program, we hope to find new partners interested in honoring a legacy and creating new opportunities for Cherokee students. We are certainly more effective when we work together and combine our resources.” CNF scholarships differ from the undergraduate and graduate scholarships offered by the tribe’s College Resource Center, which require students to complete one community service hour for every $100 received. The application for that scholarship opens Feb. 1 and can be completed at <a href="http://www.scholarships.cherokee.org" target="_blank">www.scholarships.cherokee.org</a>. For more information on CNF scholarships, visit <a href="http://www.cherokeenationfoundation.org" target="_blank">www.cherokeenationfoundation.org</a> or call 918-207-0950.