Armstrong Siblings Receive Cobell Scholarships | Education

TAHLEQUAH – Thanks to a prestigious scholarship, two citizens of the Cherokee Nation began their studies at Northeastern State University to further their careers.

Natalie and Nathan Armstrong are twins, graduating from home high school in 2021 and attending NSU with help from the Cobell Scholarship. The award is described on its website as “competitive, first based on merit and then need, non-renewable, and available to any post-secondary (post-high school) student who is a member of a government-recognized tribe. US Federal, full-time enrolled. study time and is looking for a degree.

The scholarship is named after Elouise Cobell (Blackfoot), who was the main complainant in Cobell v. Salazar who challenged the mismanagement by the United States of trust funds belonging to more than 500,000 Native Americans. The case was ultimately settled for $ 3.4 billion.

The Armstrong siblings also received the 3M Scholarship from the American Indian Science and Engineering Society and the Tea La Gi Trail of Tears Award, as well as Merit Scholarships from NSU and CN College Resources. They each entered NSU with 4.0 GPA and 24 hours of concurrent credit, and were chosen to participate in the Kakehashi Inouye 2021 exchange program funded by the US Japan Council.

“I am always grateful for the generous financial support I receive,” said Natalie. “I was very happy and grateful when I got the Cobell scholarship because it’s a big scholarship that offers a lot of money. It’s also a pretty tough scholarship to fill with lots and lots of different questions that I had to answer. If I didn’t have the support of my family, the Cobell scholarship and its application process might have intimidated me too much for me to actually apply.

Nathan was also grateful for his Cobell scholarship.

“Scholarships like this will make a huge difference for me in furthering my education,” Nathan said. “Not only does the Cobell scholarship cover almost a third of my tuition this year, it has also boosted my confidence as a student because it is such a difficult scholarship to obtain.”

Natalie deals with Ehlers Danlos Syndrome and Muscular Dystrophy, which she says were factors in her selection for NSU. Navigating a giant campus would have presented him with difficulties. She is now a double major in speech therapy and Spanish. She also hopes to study abroad and enjoys writing and art. She wants to be a bilingual speech therapist.

“Mostly, I just want to be able to help people,” Natalie said. “I want to feel like I’m making some kind of difference in people’s lives. This is one of the reasons why I decided to double the major. Few speech-language pathologists in the United States are fluent in any language other than English, although the need is increasing. I have studied Japanese, Spanish, and some Cherokee so far, and plan to study further.

NSU attracted Nathan because of his proximity to the house and his small size. He already knew the campus and had met professors and instructors. He wants to be a child psychiatrist.

“I want to help the children in my area, especially within the Cherokee Nation,” Nathan said. “I have volunteered with foster children at the Cherokee Nation placements, and have seen first-hand that there is a problem with children raised in homes affected by the drugs and abuse. Children need access to mental health specialists, and there aren’t enough for everyone. “

The two siblings expressed their gratitude to their family, Indigenous Education Inc. – through which the Cobell Scholarship is awarded – and AISES 3M, but they also praised the services CN provides.

“I was initially very excited to enter medical school after attending an Operation Orange camp hosted in Tahlequah by the Cherokee Nation,” Nathan said. “After attending Cherokee College Prep Institute before my freshman year of high school, I realized the importance of seeking scholarships to help pay for college. I used Cherokee Nation Concurrent Enrollment Scholarships to complete 24 hours of college credit before entering first grade school this year.

Natalie also earned her concurrent enrollment credit under the CN program.

“With their help, I was able to start my first year at university basically in second year,” she said. “I met many of my general education requirements first, which allowed me to immediately jump into my majors. This has been extremely helpful as with my career plan it looks like I’m going to have to attend college for the past four years.

Nathan and Natalie also said that they have always been proud of their Cherokee lineage.

“It affected me in a way that you might not immediately expect,” Natalie said. “Growing up in the Cherokee Nation, I never found Native American culture to be strange or exotic. Being surrounded by other Cherokees, I saw them as normal people, just like me. I feel like it has helped me to be more inclusive and less critical of people in a way. “

Nathan said living in Tahlequah has always made him recognize his role in the Cherokee community in general.

“A lot of my field trips and activities focused on Cherokee heritage,” he said. “I spent a lot of time with my elders, listening to stories about life here long before I was born. I want to be part of improving the lives of the children who will come after me. I want them to feel connected and supported as well.

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