Success Stories

Follow Your Passion and Don’t Give Up

A photo of DougAn AIEF scholarship allowed Doug to attend Sinte Gleska University in his hometown for the 2020-2021 school year.

Education is fundamental for a quality life. Yet only 16 percent of Native Americans have a bachelor’s degree. A program of Partnership With Native Americans (PWNA), the American Indian Education Fund (AIEF) helps address unequal opportunities facing students on the reservations that we serve.

Doug attended Todd County High School in Mission, South Dakota. Involved in basketball and track, his love for being active grew into dreams of being a physical education teacher.

An AIEF scholarship allowed him to attend Sinte Gleska University in his hometown for the 2020-2021 school year. Although freshman year is the toughest, Doug completed it with a 3.75 GPA and was selected again for an AIEF scholarship for 2021-2022.

A photo of Doug in front of a Sinte Gleska wall painting

So far, his secondary education has been virtual mostly due to the pandemic… “just myself, a computer, my books, and my bedroom for a classroom.”

In a way though, this has been good as it allowed him to look out for his younger sister Brianna, who also has virtual classes. Doug helps her with homework when he can and says, “Both my parents sit with my sister and help her with her schoolwork, sometimes until 10:30 at night due to them having to work.”

Doug spends five hours a day studying, but he has found a new passion computers. This year a sophomore, he is now majoring in information technology and could not be more excited. “I consider myself a disciplined student. I do not like to procrastinate on my work, and I like the feeling of being ahead on my academics.”

After college, Doug plans to provide IT services on the Rosebud Reservation and be a good role model for youth, encouraging them to keep moving forward in life and with their education. “Nothing in this world can stop you but you.”

Before COVID-19 hit the reservation, Doug was an active volunteer, helping the college with Giving Tuesday events and supporting the Feast of Nations, a communal Thanksgiving meal. He looks forward to serving his community again once his Tribe lifts restrictions.

With support from AIEF donors, Doug has learned to follow his passion. He tells other students to speak with their peers and financial advisors to apply for scholarships. “Don’t give up!”

PWNA and AIEF put education centerstage so that Native students like Doug have a chance to thrive and leave poverty behind. You can make this dream a reality by donating to AIEF today.


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