(Top Row, Left to Right) PLP Counselor Randy Bazhaw, Gregory Gregson, Connor Bickford, Dylan Reece, Jackson Barrett, Kabl Wilkerson. (Bottom Row, Left to Right) Katie Darvin, Alex Trousdale, Xaviera Stevens, Kaitlyn Precure, Christina Foster.

Editors note: In June, 10 tribal members moved into the Sharp House near the Citizen Potawatomi Nation Powwow Grounds to begin the Potawatomi Leadership Program, a six-week leadership and education opportunity for a group of promising college students. PLP learn about CPN government, culture, economic development and more. We asked participants why they decided to apply for the program and what they hope to gain from the experience. Below are their responses.

  • Christina Foster
    Smithville, Missouri
    University of Central Missouri
    “I applied because I’m very interested in my heritage and I didn’t get to learn much growing up. I’m hoping to gain a sense of community with my tribe.”


  • Gregory Gregson
    Valley Center, California
    St. Gregory’s University
    “I will be studying criminal justice and political science. I chose those two majors so I can become tribal police and do something bigger within the tribe. I have this big dream of becoming chairman of the tribe and then president of the United States.”


  • Jackson Barrett
    Shawnee, Oklahoma
    Seminole State College
    “I attend Seminole State College and I’m hoping to get my associates degree in criminal justice. I hope to be in law enforcement or work with child services with that degree. I hope to work for CPN in some form or fashion.”


  • Dylan Reece
    Idabel, Oklahoma
    Oklahoma Baptist University
    “I applied for the Potawatomi Leadership Program to get a better understanding of the internal affairs of each department that is a part of CPN. I’ve grown up around tribal nations my entire life so I’ve wondered about the internal views and business aspects and how these departments run.”


  • Alex Trousdale
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    University of Nevada, Las Vegas
    “For the longest time I’ve wanted to go to law school and study criminal law, mostly defense, but since I’ve come to the PLP and learned about self-governance, tribal law is becoming more of a possibility. I would like to work for the tribe as a tribal attorney.”


  • Kaitlyn Precure
    Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
    Oklahoma Baptist University
    “I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to learn about my tribe but also help me build on my business skills and speaking in front of people. I want to learn more about my ancestors, traditions and language.”


  • Connor Bickford
    Olathe, Kansas
    University of Kansas
    “I’m majoring in biology, with a focus in molecular, cellular and developmental biology. With that I hope to apply to medical school and get my MD to become an anesthesiologist. I’d like to join the Navy or work in an Indian Health Services hospital.”


  • Xaviera Stevens
    Denton, Texas
    Texas Women’s University
    “I hope to gain knowledge of my culture, the ability to pass on that information to my four younger siblings and a lot of qualities to be a good diplomat for the nation. I’d love to work for the nation eventually.”


  • Katie Darvin
    Dallas, Texas; Norman, Oklahoma
    St Gregory’s University
    “I plan to get my master’s in psychology from St. Gregory’s. I want to be a developmental psychologist who helps kids and teens to handle their own problems so that they don’t have to go therapy when they are older. I’d like to give them coping skills before things happen in their lives that they can’t handle so they can be successful on their own.”


  • Kabl Wilkerson
    Lubbock, Texas
    Texas Tech University
    “I’m really curious about constitutional law and governance. How a tribe like CPN operates in the 21st century is incredibly interesting, so having an opportunity to see that first hand and shadow is amazing. I could not pass up applying for the PLP.”