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The difference a Potawatomi scholarship makes

As a proud member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation, I want to express how much it means to be given financial support throughout my years in college. I am from Jacksonville, Fla. and am a descendant of Nora Ellen Edwards and the LeClair family. My grandfather, Bobby Gene Morris, is who I truly accredit my family’s involvement and connection with the Citizen Potawatomi Nation. For the past four years of my life, I have been granted the tribal roll scholarship, which has helped me during my time as a student at the Florida State University.

College is no doubt expensive, and the support I received each semester was extremely beneficial to me. It allowed me to maintain my place of residence and provide for myself while living away from home. Therefore, while in school at FSU, I wanted to do something that would give back to the American Indian community and make me proud of my heritage. I joined the American Indian Student Union at FSU and became the co-President of this organization in 2010. I helped plan events that increased campus awareness of Native American history during Native American Heritage Month each November.

I felt like I was making a difference on campus, all in honor of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation, who provided such great assistance throughout college. These experiences also brought me closer to my ancestry. Being a part of the American Indian Student Union on campus brought me closer to other Native American students and those who were genuinely interested in the culture. At a place like FSU, which bases its mascot and symbolism in Native American roots, it felt great to give others a more meaningful perspective into the history, culture, and present state of Native Americans across the country.

I graduated Cum Laude from FSU in August 2013, earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in International Affairs and Spanish, and was selected to be a Garnet and Gold Scholar. Part of what let me achieve this recognition was the leadership position I possessed in the American Indian Student Union, and my determination to keep the club active and running. I chose to go into my specific academic field because of my interest in other cultures, countries and cross-cultural communication. I have studied Spanish for nine years and had the opportunity to study and work abroad in Valencia, Spain through FSU International Programs. Therefore, my combined double major suits me perfectly.

Professionally, I hope to teach or work for a non-profit organization. I have many interests that I can’t wait to explore, but I know that I enjoy helping others profoundly. I am currently awaiting acceptances to programs abroad to teach English in Spain for a year. After that I would like to continue my studies in a Masters program abroad, either in Spanish or International Relations.

I would encourage all young members of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation to take the time to apply for this scholarship. Without a doubt, this scholarship has helped me through my years at the Florida State University. I owe the Citizen Potawatomi Nation a massive thank you. I will never forget my ancestry, where I came from, and the rich history that Native Americans have. I am so proud to be a descendant of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation.