Student Spotlight: Sam Phillips

BY STAFF REPORTS
08/13/2020 02:00 PM
Main Cherokee Phoenix
Sam Phillips
TAHLEQUAH – Cherokee Nation citizen and Northeastern State University student Sam Phillips has been awarded the Cobell Scholarship.

The Cobell Education Scholarship Fund is designed to provide financial assistance to American Indian and Alaska Native students wishing to pursue post-secondary education and training.

Phillips, of Tahlequah, is majoring in American Indian studies and legal studies at NSU.

“My higher education journey has definitely had its fair share of obstacles, one of them being financial, that’s why I’m so thankful for this opportunity. The Cobell Scholarship will cover the majority of my senior year costs and relieve that stress so I can focus on my studies and research, while graduating on time next May,” said Phillips, who is also working towards a juris doctorate. “This is a big step in my ultimate goal of obtaining my juris doctorate and working with different tribal nations to help protect their futures. Hopefully, I can honor the legacy of Elouise Cobell.”

In 1996, banker Elouise Cobell was the lead plaintiff in a class action suit. The suit demanded back payment and better accounting on Individual Indian Money Accounts managed by the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Thirteen years later, the federal government settled for $3.4 billion, the largest settlement in U.S. history, which enabled the creation of the Cobell Scholarship.

Phillips is thankful for all the help NSU’s Native American Support Center has provided.

“My biggest piece of advice for other students is to find your on-campus support system. For me, it was NASC and select professors. Wado (thank you in Cherokee) to NASC Director Shelly Dreadfulwater, Dr. (Christine) Hallman and Dr. (Diane) Hammons for suffering through all of my questions, giving me advice and pushing me to grow. Even if you think there is no way in the world you could get one of these scholarships or internships, if you don’t apply you take away your chance. Do your research, find out what is right for you and never give up on yourself.”

The NASC at NSU is available to help Native students feel at home and create a sense of community. Students may call 918-444-3042 or email nasc@nsuok.edu for information. 

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