The MATC Scholars program is a way to provide students with connections, materials, and advice to further their education. The Tribal Colleges and University’s (TCU) program is specifically catered towards students currently attending two-year tribal colleges and providing information they can use to apply for and succeed in a four-year university. This year’s event hosted two students from Nebraska Indian Community College (NICC) and brought them to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s (UNL) campus to hear presentations and meet professionals from both the university setting and work force.
The program began on Wednesday, October 6, 2022, with a welcome lunch. Rosebud Sioux Elder Phyllis Stone gave a blessing and students and university leaders introduced themselves before an overview of the program. After heading to Memorial Stadium for a tour, the informational sessions began. Dr. Susana Geliga-Grazales is a professor at the University of Omaha in History and Native American Studies. She was a first-generation, non-traditional student and was able to connect to the students who were from a similar background.
Before the program, the students were asked to prepare a short essay that could be used in an application for the Chief Standing Bear scholarship. The Director of the Nebraska College Preparatory Academy (NCPA) Dr. Moises Padilla, Managing Editor of Indianz.com Mr. Kevin Abourezk, and Lecturer in UNL’s Department of Philosophy Dr. Adam Thompson, helped the students workshop their essays and gave tips on what to include for personal statements in scholarships, school, and career applications. Before dinner, students and guests were able to explore the Nebraska Museum of Natural History, and after dinner students from University of Nebraska-Lincoln Intertribal Exchange (UNITE) held a panel in which they talked about their experience at UNL and the community they’ve found in the club.
Thursday brought more informational sessions. Mr. Abel Covarrubias from the Nebraska College Preparatory academy, Ms. Carmen Kelle, an academic advisor in the Department of Political Science, and Mr. Theodore (Ted) Hibbeler from the Native American Coalition, gave the students information on admissions, 4-year planning, and the UNL Indigenous Food Sovereignty Program, respectively. The students also discussed personal finances and budgeting during college with a representative from the Big Red Resilience and Well Being Office.
Dinner was at the Great Plains Art Museum where they were welcome to examine the exhibits. Keynote speaker Angela Two Stars from the Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate tribe spoke about her life and career journey as an indigenous artist, afterward leading an art activity in which those present were asked to put academic advice they have heard or would give on leaves to attach to a tree that represents the importance of a strong support system in academia.
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