American Indian College Fund scholar Jeff (Lummi) worked as a summer intern with the Lummi tribe’s natural resources department after he completed an associate’s degree at Northwest Indian College’s main campus. He is now seeking a bachelor’s degree in environmental science. Jeff hopes to use his knowledge and degree to pursue graduate work in law or marine biology.
Jeff, methodical and articulate, chooses his words carefully and displays maturity not found in most twenty-something college students. This demeanor is the result of some hard but rewarding life lessons. As a high school junior, Jeff became a father and dropped out of school to earn money to support his family. He worked jobs in food service and eventually landed a supervisor position at the Silver Reef Casino. Although the work was steady, Jeff's thirst for knowledge and drive to accomplish bigger and better things inspired him to enroll at Northwest Indian College.
With little savings and the need to invest in a full-time education, Jeff looked for funding options, which led him to the American Indian College Fund. Since 2008 he was awarded several scholarships, including the prestigious Anthony A. Welmas Full Circle scholarship. This one-time high school dropout has maintained a 3.7 grade point average in a tough program consisting of chemistry, biology, and environmental law classes.
Jeff's priorities are his family and community. Ultimately he wants to use his education to advocate for tribal fisherman and ensure maximum sustainable harvests for the Lummi fishing community.