EBCI college students participating in the Jones-Bowman Leadership Award Program established by Cherokee Preservation Foundation have been developing their leadership skills over the past month by going north to Alaska and east to Greensboro and Chapel Hill. The trips were taken so the students could participate in customized leadership development programs they have developed with mentors who are also enrolled members of the EBCI.
Six Jones-Bowman fellows — Kelsey Standingdeer, Joey Owle, Savannah Hicks, Kayla Smith, Jessica Munson and Dre Jackson — attended the 2012 American Indians in Science and Engineering Society (AISES) National Conference in Anchorage, Alaska, in early November.
Among the many events and activities at AISES were more than 50 learning sessions organized into tracks targeting the professional development interests of the participants, the largest career fair in Indian Country, and unique sharing of traditional Native culture.
Kelsey Standingdeer said she enjoyed attending the career fair and speaking with representatives from organizations such as the Peace Corps and Alaska Tribal Health. “This was a great trip where our group members bonded and learned more about what it takes to be a leader for our community,” she said.
For Savannah Hicks, the AISES conference helped her decide to further her education by going to grad school. “The conference was informative about how many opportunities there are out there for Native students,” she said.
“AISES is an excellent avenue for Native students and professionals to network,” said Joey Owle. It provides opportunities for young leaders to develop their professional skills.”
Standingdeer and Owle traveled closer to home for other professional development opportunities as well. Standingdeer and Ruth Ponce-Batts, graduate students at NC State in counselor education, participated in the North Carolina School Counselor Association Conference in Greensboro on Nov. 8. They presented a poster they created to other counselors at the event they titled “Promoting Diversity in the School Environment.” It generated a lot of positive feedback from other conference attendees, who wanted to learn more about promoting diversity in their schools. Standingdeer and Ponce-Batts created lesson plans as a resource for their poster.
Joey Owle, a graduate student in soil science at NC State, attended the North Carolina Vermicomposting Conference in Chapel Hill immediately after returning from Alaska. Vermicomposting is a process that relies on earthworms and microorganisms to help stabilize active organic materials and convert to a soil amendment and plant nutrient source, and the North Carolina event is the only conference about earthworm farming and mid-to-large scale vermicomposting in North America.
“This conference excited me about the ability of the vermicomposting process to mitigate the environmental impacts of our many municipal, industrial, and agricultural wastes,” said Owle. “The information I gained for this conference will help me to complete my graduate project focused on vermicomposting.”
The Jones-Bowman Leadership Award Program makes financial awards to undergraduate college students committed to developing their leadership skills. The program honors the memory and leadership of Principal Chief Leon Jones and Mr. James Bowman, who were founding members of the Board of Directors of Cherokee Preservation Foundation. Each year they participate in the program, Jones-Bowman Fellows receive funding of approximately $4,000 for individual leadership learning plans they develop with their mentor. The Jones-Bowman Program will be recruiting EBCI undergraduate students for the 2013/2014 program in early 2013. Info: Alicia Jacobs 497-5550.
– Cherokee Preservation Foundation