The UPS Foundation Tribal College Scholarship Program provides scholarship support to students attending the nation’s tribal colleges and universities (TCUs). The scholarship provides a $2,250 scholarship for one student at each of the TCUs for both the spring and fall semesters of the academic year.
“The UPS Foundation is proud to support the American Indian College Fund. These programs make a meaningful difference in many communities and each student’s life,” said Ken Sternad, president of the UPS Foundation.
“We are humbled by The UPS Foundation’s continued dedication to Native education over the years. Thanks to their partnership, Native students can overcome the obstacle of financial need to get access to the opportunity to earn a higher education, improving their lives and those of their families,” said Dr. Crazy Bull, President and CEO of the American Indian College Fund.
The UPS Foundation can be found at http://www.community.ups.com/UPS+Foundation.
Robert decided to return to college after working for a major portion of his young life in his tribe’s casinos. He credits his two children, AnnaMarie, who is six, and Ava, who is four, for giving him the desire to earn a college degree and be a better person for them as well as his community.
As he was growing up, Robert says school was just something he thought he had to get through. He says he enjoyed learning when he was young, but as he got older it became less important. He attempted a few courses in community colleges nearby, but it wasn’t until he entered Leech Lake Tribal College that he realized that college was more than just a way to get a higher-paying job. Robert says, “It has intrigued and inspired my mind in ways I haven’t thought since I was in science or history class in the eighth or ninth grade. This revitalized discovery has really taking my new college career to another level, and for that I am thankful.”
Robert has a straight-A average which he maintains while caring for his children, volunteering as a fire fighter for the Cass Lake Area, and maintaining his commitment to sobriety after overcoming drug addiction.
“I have been clean and sober for almost six years now, but there isn’t a day that goes by where I am not reminded of a past life I was once in entwined in. I don’t talk much about this hardship because it is something I feel I did to myself. On the other hand, one could say it is from a self-destructive behavior that has been instilled in my mind just from growing up in the area. So many of my lifelong friends and people I know follow this path of chaos, and it seems like the norm for people in my community. I overcome this by telling people it is not normal to get into trouble all of the time and it is not OK to know the jailers by first name. I share my story when asked and spread a new positive message just by living a good life the best I can,” Robert says.
Robert says he would like to work for his reservation in economic development and eventually earn his master’s degree in a business field, but “for now I am focused on obtaining my associate’s degree in business management. This scholarship will help me achieve my goals. I will work very hard to make sure every dollar I receive is and will be used for the best interest of my family and the betterment of my education. I plan to make you proud of your investment.”