STUDENT SPOTLIGHT: Abigail Hickman
OKLAHOMA CITY – Cherokee Nation citizen Abigail Hickman, a Columbia University senior, has been awarded a George J. Mitchell Scholarship that will allow her to study in Ireland for a year as part of a master’s degree program.
A 2017 graduate of the Classen School of Advanced Studies High School in Oklahoma City, Hickman selected Columbia for her higher education with the help of a college prep course called College Horizons.
“It’s like a college prep summer program for Indigenous students, and while I was there all of my advisors help me make a list of schools to apply to,” she said. “They recommended that I go to Columbia because I just kind of wanted to spend four years in something that was a little different than Oklahoma.”
In her four years at Columbia, Hickman became involved in Indigenous organizations and activities.
She is co-president of the Native American Council student organization, was on the Native American Heritage Month committee and helped provide a residential space for Indigenous students called Manhattan House.
“I was the community coordinator for that as well,” she said. “I wrote a petition to get our university to recognize Indigenous Peoples Day, which passed. That was fun. Outside of school I interned at the Office of Government Relations for the (Cherokee Nation) tribe.”
Hickman majored in anthropology because it was the only course of studies where she would have an Indigenous professor.
“I majored in anthropology because the only Native professor at Columbia is an anthropology professor, so the only way I could make sure that I was working with Native professors was if I majored in anthropology,” she said.
Hickman was chosen for the George J. Mitchell Scholarship, which is sponsored by the U.S.-Ireland Alliance. Its namesake was a former U.S. senator who contributed to Northern Ireland’s peace process.
She was one of 12 chosen out of more than 400 applicants for one year of post-graduate studies in Ireland. She plans to study at the University of Limerick.
“You go to the school of your choice and you get a master’s degree in whatever field that you’re interested in,” she said. “I’m going to do English and literature. It’s all paid for and then you also get a living stipend.”
In May, she plans to graduate with a bachelor’s degree in anthropology. She also hopes to obtain a master’s in English from the University of Limerick and plans to pursue a doctorate in Indigenous studies, American studies or English.
She is living in Oklahoma City due to the pandemic, attending classes remotely.