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Is there a Doctor in the House?

Aaron's Photo

Aaron first contacted our Scholarship Committee in the spring of his junior year while attending a Montana university. A proud member of the White Clay Nation of Fort Belknap, Montana, Aaron applied for our Undergraduate Scholarship to complete his Bachelor’s in Health and Human Performance (Exercise Science option, i.e. Physical Therapy). Our scholarships support educational opportunities for about 200 American Indian and Alaska Native students annually. Aaron was 1 of 200 students to receive the scholarship last year.

In his award winning application, he detailed his background and dreams of becoming a Physical Therapist. Compelled by the prevalence of chronic diseases among Native American populations and his own community, Aaron believes he can help to decrease these numbers through education and work. “With my abilities at hand I will be able to prevent and rehabilitate victims of these prevalent health concerns.”

Some of the health concerns Aaron specifically listed included: alcohol induced injuries, fetal alcohol syndrome and diabetes. “Having grown up as a child on a reservation, I have seen the health problems that Indian people face. With a physical therapy degree, I believe I can help decrease the prevalence of chronic diseases among the Native American population”.

Aaron has always been an active member in his community. “My family has a deep-rooted history here…it was expected of me to participate”. His community involvement followed Aaron into his college career and helped him to build a strong support system. He has worked as a peer mentor for incoming Native American students, taught physical education/education for elementary children, and volunteered for a local living complex for the disabled. With all this service, he still managed to show up on the Dean’s List more than a few times. And during his summer “downtime,” Aaron assisted Indian Health Services hospital staff and patients by working as a student intern. This experience provided Aaron a “more in depth sight into the world that I want to be a part of and solidified my goals of becoming a physical therapist”.

Aaron completed his undergraduate work as scheduled and in March he received the letter that would move him closer to his dreams…he was accepted into the Doctor of Physical Therapy degree program! Wasting no time, he submitted his application for the Graduate Scholarship two weeks later. This is our first year of offering graduate students scholarships and Aaron was 1 of 25 students to receive their support. His course load will be heavy, but given his commitment to education and community, there is no doubt Aaron will fulfill his dream. In his final paragraph of his biography he writes: “I commit my life to helping my people and to advancing society’s level of understanding of how great we as American Indian’s truly are.”