Being a CPN college advisor, you give a lot of help, resources, and information to students, but rarely do you get to see the full fruits of your labor. On April 9, I got to see just that. I had the opportunity to witness CPN tribal member Trae Trousdale commit and sign to attend Oklahoma City University for the fall of 2017. Trae received the American Indian Scholarship from OCU, which is a highly competitive scholarship that includes full tuition, room and board as well as membership to the prestigious President’s Leadership Class.

When Trae first came into my office, he presented me with a list of about 50 schools that he was considering and declared that he wanted to leave the state of Oklahoma for college. As I met with him over the course of several months, we narrowed down the list of institutions to find the overall best fit for him socially, academically and financially. I tasked Trae to list out his top 10 schools and start an information sheet for each so that he could compare them easily. I wanted to challenge him to think of why each school was on the list, where they were located, what his specific criteria was for college, and how much financial aid might be offered. Through this process, I quickly learned exactly what Trae was looking for in a school. With many Ivy League schools on his top ten list, he began to research, explore, and apply to each option. Our department helped him develop and edit his essays before he submitted his applications.

Later on in the semester, the CPN Department of Education visited the OCU campus, toured the university’s Meinders School of Business, and learned about the American Indian Scholarship. I knew immediately that the university was a perfect fit for Trae, and it met every single criteria he was looking for in an institution. I presented the idea and encouraged him to apply for the American Indian Scholarship, and he was open to the idea of having one Oklahoma school on his list. After he applied and was admitted, he completed the scholarship paperwork. After an interview, Trae got a call back and received this highly competitive scholarship. Starting in the fall of 2017, Trae will become an OCU Star and will be a welcomed member of the President’s Leadership Class. Trae will have access to amazing opportunities and that he may not have had at another institution and ultimately attain his four-year undergraduate degree completely debt-free. 

I am so honored to have been a small part of all the hard work that Trae put in to seeking the perfect fit for him. This is a great example of not settling and keeping an open mind to institutions that you may not have ever heard of or considered. Our department never wants to make the decision for our students; instead, we want to present them with every opportunity possible. Let our department help you find the perfect fit, it may be a school you didn’t even have on your list.

If you would like to learn more about higher education opportunities, scholarships or guidance, please contact us. We provide an accessible entry point for college-bound CPN students in search of individualized college advice, scholarship help, or internship information, regardless of age or location. Contact the CPN Department of Education by email at or by phone at 405-275-3121.