The AT&T Foundation provides scholarships to American Indian students through its Tribal College Program. Scholarship recipients must be enrolled in a federally recognized tribe with proof of descendancy; be enrolled at an accredited tribal college or university; be majoring in science, technology, engineering, math and/or business; and demonstrate a combination of financial need and/or merit.
Sheila, the mother of three children, started college nearly 30 years ago, taking classes while juggling work and motherhood. But she never finished her degree, in part due to the many demands on her life and also because her partner was unsupportive of her academic goals.
After her relationship ended, Sheila left her job with the Bureau of Indian Affairs and moved back to the Standing Rock Reservation. There she found a job with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, and while working continued to attend college. Learning that many of her tribe’s positions required a degree, Sheila says her resolve was hardened to finish her business degree.
Sheila left the reservation in 2009 to enroll at United Tribes Technical College in North Dakota full-time to finally make her dream come true. She lived on campus with her daughters and attended classes and earned an associate of arts degree in business administration. Today she is working toward completing her bachelor’s degree in the same major at Sitting Bull College.
Sheila says completing her college education will benefit both herself and her family. With a four-year degree she will be eligible for better job opportunities, and she hopes her children will follow her example to attend college to pursue their goals.