STUDENT SPOTLIGHT: Alayna Harkreader
WASHINGTON – Aspiring to work and live in Washington, D.C., Cherokee Nation citizen Alayna Harkreader gets a chance to live out her dream for the next four months through a college internship.
The Northeastern State University sophomore Harkreader applied for the internship through George Washington University’s Native American Political Leadership Program.
She is interning with the National Council of Urban Indian Health and will be taking three courses at GWU toward her degree.
“I’m actually very excited. I have been wanting to do something in D.C. for a long time, so now that I get the chance to, and I’m old enough to do something like this, it is crazy to me,” she said.
Harkreader is a former member of the Cherokee National Youth Choir and has traveled to Washington, D.C., multiple times with the group, prompting her desire to live there.
“I just fell in love with the city, and now that I get to live there for four months it is something that I can’t even put into words. I’m so excited for this opportunity,” she said.
At NSU, Harkreader is majoring in history and minoring in Cherokee. She said it is her hope to study law and become an advocate in Washington, D.C., for Native American issues such as language, health and domestic violence victims.
She is a graduate of the Cherokee Immersion Charter School and belongs to its first graduating class. She said the Cherokee language is important to her and her family. “Since language is a huge part of me, that is something that I want try and get funding for.”
Harkreader said for a long time she has been interested in policy-making and excited for the chance to be “behind the scenes.”
“Something that I am looking to take away from this is just understanding how things work up there, how it’s so different,” she said. “And to take away how they make policies, which is something I’m really interested in, I just want to see how everything works behind the scenes because we don’t really get to see that. We see everything through the media. So since I’m going up there for so long and with everything that’s going on right now, I’m really excited to be there in the moment with everybody else.”