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Dr. Jolene Rickard educates Graduate Horizon attendees about the Haudenosaunee notion of sovereignty—a lived embodiment.

Making the Grad: Cornell Hosts Graduate Horizons for Native Students


The 2014 Graduate Horizons summer workshop, held at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, targeted college students and graduates who are looking to apply to graduate/professional programs. That wasn’t the only focus though. This year, Graduate Horizons focused on preparing Native American, Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian and First Nations students for the competitive admissions process. About 60 Native students attended the four-day intensive workshop, held in July.

Students in attendance were able to learn from the experience of Cornell’s current graduate students and to participate in information sessions about Cornell’s programs, internships and funding resources. “Graduate Horizons is a fantastic grad school prep program for Native American students to help them explore different opportunities as it relates to grad school and refine the application process, demystify what it means to be a graduate student and really provide support around different types of opportunities for graduate study,” said Cornell’s Dr. Tremayne Waller, director of the McNair Scholars Program.

During her welcome address, Dr. Jolene Rickard, Tuscarora, director of Cornell’s American Indian Program, encouraged the next generation of graduate students to strive to be leaders in their fields, noting that their role requires them to make positive impacts in their communities and to continue an open dialogue about what it means to be indigenous so their voices are heard, respected, and they have a say in how the world operates.

Dr. Troy Richardson, Saponi/Tuscarora, an associate professor at Cornell, spoke to students about a range of things they should consider before applying to graduate school. He encouraged them to find an institution that suits their needs, including cultural and social support networks, as well as finding internal advocates who can give them feedback when applying. The attendees were also asked to think about how they could intersect their career path with indigenous studies.

During the four-day event, Cornell showed its connection to indigenous culture and its place in the Cayuga/Haudenosaunee homelands when it held a Haudenosaunee Dedication of a White Pine as a Tree of Peace and the Haudenosaunee Social.

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