Since 2003, dozens of young tribal members have participated in the Potawatomi Leadership Program (PLP) as they mature into young adults and start making decisions for their future.
Coming from across the country, college-age Potawatomi travel to CPN each summer for the PLP internship program, which provides workplace experience and knowledge for their college and future careers. Austen Roselius, alum of the 2011 program, has been interning for the CPN Health Clinic as a way to give back to his tribe.
The 201l valedictorian of Carl Albert High School in Midwest City, Okla., Roselius is a member of the Vieux family. The junior at the University of Oklahoma gets away from campus life every Friday to lend a hand at the South Clinic as an intern.
“While I’m here I do a little bit of everything. I help out with whatever needs done,” explained Roselius. “I review medical records, convert physical charts to electronic ones and contact patients who need to be brought up to date on screens.”
Roselius is studying Microbiology at OU and is a recipient of an Indian Health Services Scholarship, which provides a full paid undergraduate degree. It will also pay back all of medical or graduate school fees the recipient accrues if they fulfill a service obligation following their graduation. Roselius is studying to take the MCAT in March and plans on going to Medical School in the fall of 2015.
On top of going to school and interning, Roselius is a counselor for the Potawatomi Leadership program. He lived at the Sharp House during the summer of 2013 with the PLP students and staff. He is passionate about the program and encourages CPN tribal members who are planning on going to college right out of high school to apply.
“Every year we’ve had it, there have been improvements made. We’ve seen the PLP participants respond well to the changes and grow due to them. The program right now is at its peak,” explained Roselius. “We really have a good team and want native kids to come, spend the summer, and learn how to be good leaders and give back to their tribe. It’s a great opportunity to come grow as a person, as a student, and maybe eventually use the skills to come back and help our own people.”
Roselius says that his ultimate goal is to give back to CPN and contribute to the success here.
“We don’t have it yet, but I’d really like to see CPN have a hospital on tribal grounds,” said Roselius. “I would love to be an outpatient surgeon here, to give back and continue to be a part of my community. With the amount of referrals we have here for surgeries to other hospitals, it’s something that I can see the tribe having in the future.”
If you would like to learn more information on the Potawatomi Leadership Program, an application can be found at www.potawatomi.org/services/education.