Tag Archives: support services

Freeport McMoRan - American Indian Retention

Freeport McMoRan’s Gift To ASU Helps American Indian Retention Efforts

Attending college and earning a degree is a distant dream for many American Indians. A gift of $35,000 from Freeport McMoRan to Arizona State University will help ensure that more students attain their goals of earning a higher education degree by funding Native American retention efforts.

Arizona is a state that is rich in Indian tribal communities with 22 federally recognized tribes whose land makes up one quarter of the state’s land mass. ASU is working collaboratively with these federally recognized tribes to strengthen the education pipeline from Native communities to ASU.

“Freeport McMoRan’s generous gift will help ASU deliver meaningful support services to its ever-increasing American Indian student population who are enrolled members of these tribes. This gift will help these students make a successful transition into the rigors of the university curriculum and the later employment challenges that lie ahead. We are extremely grateful for Freeport McMoRan for its support,” said Diane Humetewa, Special Advisor to ASU President Michael Crow on American Indian Affairs.

ASU has one of the largest American Indian student populations in the nation. In the 2012 spring semester, approximately 1,400 American Indian students from the Navajo Nation, Tohono O’odham Nation, San Carlos Apache Indian Tribe, Hopi and other federally recognized tribes located within Arizona and other states throughout our nation enrolled at ASU. ASU ranks first in the nation for doctoral degrees awarded to American Indians.

ASU is working to ensure that students who come to the university complete their degrees. First-year retention rates among Native Americans average around 69 percent. Students cite a myriad of reasons why completing their studies is challenging, including finances and cultural differences.

“If you’re coming from a small tribal community into a large urban environment, you’re likely trying to figure out your day-to-day living situation and manage finances while at the same time trying to excel academically. It can, at times, be overwhelming. ASU can provide resources to get through that first semester,” Humetewa said.

ASU is spearheading creative initiatives to provide incoming students with a holistic approach to complete their degrees with programs designed to enhance social, cultural and academic integration. The gift from Freeport McMoRan will support these programs and initiatives to boost American Indian student success at ASU.

“This gift represents Freeport McMoRan’s commitment to the success of Native American students. The funds will provide multi-year support for programs that promote retention, success and graduation for enrolled members of federally recognized tribes. We are grateful to have Freeport McMoRan as a partner in educational excellence,” said Delia S. Saenz, Vice Provost for International & Institutional Inclusion.

Funds from the gift will be eligible to support programs and initiatives such as: an accredited course that will build writing, reading and response skills; undergraduate tutorial services; and college and career readiness activities that will ease the cultural transition to the university, especially for first-generation American Indian college students from reservation communities.

Other programs that are eligible for funds include an elective course to help students overcome cultural challenges often faced when applying studies to a work environment. The course emphasizes professional and leadership skills while exploring indigenous and non-indigenous perspectives on communication, research and professional and leadership skills.

In addition, the ASU Summer Bridge Program ensures that students make a successful transition to the university by emphasizing involvement, inclusion and identification with the ASU campus and community. Sixty American Indian students experience a four-day ASU residential orientation that includes: one-on-one meetings with academic advisors, faculty and staff; class registration and advisement; culturally specific workshops and presentations; leadership development; and academic and social integration.

A similar program, the Native American Summer Institute, has run for the past 12 years and has served over 750 students with great success. Current ASU data show that students who attend the institute are retained at much higher rates.

For more information on Freeport McMoRan and ASU, visit Freeport McMoRan’s website at www.fcx.com and visit ASU’s website asu.edu.

pat tillman foundation - community support

Two Tillman Military Scholars Are Selected At ASU

Arizona State University and the Pat Tillman Foundation are pleased to announce two students have been selected as Tillman Military Scholars for the 2012-2013 academic year.

Chad Waltz, a member of the Air National Guard, is currently working toward a master’s degree in social work at Arizona State University. A proud supporter for advocacy and education among the military community, Waltz currently assists with an organization specializing in peer support for veterans who may have experienced mental trauma while in combat. Through his partnership with the Tillman Foundation, Waltz is looking forward to serving as an example for others who may be considering getting an education.

Casaundra Wallace, a United States Army veteran, will study at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law in the fall. She is considering focusing her studies in the public policy arena on either environmental law or Indian law. Wallace, a student worker in the Pat Tillman Veteran Center, sees the Tillman Military Scholar designation as an opportunity to give back the veteran community.

ASU is one of 14 campuses serving as a Tillman Military Scholar University Partner for the 2012-2013 academic year. University Partners are selected based on their innovative servicemember-specific support services and proven culture of community for military families.

As a University Partner, each institution conducts outreach to its veteran and military spouse student population and actively participates in the Tillman Military Scholar selection process. Upon selection of Tillman Military Scholars on campus, each then supports the building of community among these students, strengthening their academic and personal experience.

“As part of ASU’s initial screening committee, we had the very tough job of going through 42 applications, and forwarding only the top 10 to the Pat Tillman Foundation for final selection. We were very excited to hear that Chad and Casaundra were chosen – they both stood out as exceptional candidates,” said Christian Rauschenbach, Veteran Services program manager.

In 2008, the Pat Tillman Foundation established the Tillman Military Scholars program to support educational opportunities for servicemembers and military families by bridging the financial gaps left by the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill. Military families face numerous challenges during the transition from military to civilian life and have unique needs that often prevent successfully completing a degree. As a result, Tillman Military Scholars receive financial support to not only cover traditional study-related expenses such as tuition and books, but also other needs, including but not limited to: housing, transportation and childcare. In providing this support, the Pat Tillman Foundation aims to remove obstacles that would otherwise prohibit academic success.

Over the past four years, the Pat Tillman Foundation has awarded more than $3.2 million in scholarship funds to 230 Tillman Military Scholars pursuing education at every level from freshmen undergraduates to PhD candidates. Overall, Tillman Military Scholars represent 71 different institutions across 34 states.

“We received 1,280 applicants this year and, with support from our selection committee, narrowed these applicants down to 59 outstanding candidates to join the fourth class of Tillman Military Scholars,” said Hunter I Riley, director of programs at the Pat Tillman Foundation. “These Scholars represent leadership in the military, classroom and community and we’re proud to invest in their education and support them in making a positive impact into the future.”

For more information on the Tillman Military Scholars, visit the Pat Tillman Foundation’s website at pattillmanfoundation.org.