The Estée Lauder Companies established the Tribal Scholars Program in 2011. This program provides ten scholarships to American Indian students studying marketing, business, environmental science, or a related field at tribal colleges in Minnesota.
The Estée Lauder Companies Inc. is one of the world’s leading manufacturers and marketers of quality skin care, makeup, fragrance, and hair care products. The Company’s products are sold in over 150 countries and territories under the following brand names: Estée Lauder, Aramis, Clinique, Prescriptives, Lab Series, Origins, M•A•C, Bobbi Brown, Tommy Hilfiger, Kiton, La Mer, Donna Karan, Aveda, Jo Malone, Bumble and bumble, Darphin, Michael Kors, American Beauty, Flirt!, GoodSkin Labs, Grassroots Research Labs, Sean John, Missoni, Daisy Fuentes, Tom Ford, Coach, Ojon, and Smashbox.
Robert was born and raised on the Leech Lake Reservation. A second-year honors with a 4.0 grade point average, Robert was named Student of the Month for February 2012 and has been on the Presidents List. Robert is also a single father of two daughters. He says they are “a major part of my desire to not only be a better person for myself but to be a better person for the community.”
While growing up, “School was just something I had to get through. I enjoyed learning when I was young but as I got older it became less important. I attempted college at North West Tech in Bemidji and I even went to Itasca Community College in Grand Rapids for a few weeks. Those were both disasters for me and I just didn’t understand the opportunity a higher education is. Let’s fast forward to my fall 2011 semester at the Leech Lake Tribal College. A completely different person entered this school. I have maintained a 4.0 up to this point and have come to an understanding that college is more than just a way to get a higher paying job. For me it has intrigued and inspired my mind in ways I haven’t thought about since I was in science or history class in the 8th or 9th grade. This revitalized discovery has really taking my new college career to another level, and for that I am thankful.”
Robert has overcome drug addiction and is working hard to turn his life around. “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 comes from a self-destructive behavior that has been instilled in my mind just from the area where I have grown up. So many of my lifelong friends and people I know follow this same path of chaos, and it feels like the norm for people in the community I live in. I overcome this by telling people it is not normal to get into trouble all of the time, it is not OK to know the jailers by first name. I share my story when asked and I spread a new positive message just by living a good life the best I can.”
Robert is focused on obtaining an associate’s degree in business management and going on to work in a business field. His scholarship helps pay for his expenses and keeps him committed to earning a higher education. In addition to his family and his studies, Robert is a volunteer firefighter for his community.