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Everything listed under: Scholars Program

  • Our Inaugural Scholars Program was a Success!

    This year, we celebrate our brand new Scholars Program, under the leadership of Director Mikaela Crank Thinn. After years of fundraising and planning, the hard work paid off as our newest College Horizons program became reality and took place on Lawrence University's campus in Appleton, Wisconsin. Lawrence most recently hosted College Horizons for the third time in 2016. We are grateful to everybody's hard work on the planning committee and to Lawrence University for hosting us in our first year of this new and exciting initiative.

    The inaugural Scholars Program took place this past summer from July 15 to August 5, 2017. There were 19 Scholars representing 9 tribal nations who have since started attending 16 different colleges and universities. 53% were coming from rural communities on or nearby their tribal reservations. 74% were first generation college students. The goal of the Scholars Program is to help College Horizons alumni acclimate to their first year of college. The Scholars Program aims to prepare students by addressing their holistic needs and making college relevant by connecting their culture and community to their college experience.

    As part of the program, students took one writing seminar by Julie Haurykiewicz and Brigetta Miller, one lecture course by Dr. Adrienne Keene, one success strategies class by Kate Zoromski, and one cultural transition course led by the Director of the Scholars Program and our interns. The lecture course served as an introduction to critical race theory and the cultural transition class helped students learn how to navigate college structures. On the weekends, students took trips to the nearby Oneida and Menominee Nations.

    Each week the Scholars Program also incorporated a different wellness theme. The first week, Dr. Virgil Moorehead came to discuss mental health, digital storytelling and the importance of balance, healing, and play. The second week, Well for Culture visited with the Scholars to teach the group about fitness, nutrition, stress relief and looking to tribal values to indigenize health. The third week, the group applied what they learned from the first part of the program and they took two yoga classes, one meditation class and completed their digital stories.

    Similar to other summer bridge programs, the Scholars Program is focused on academic and success strategies. The students are learning about mindset, resilience, interdependence, traditional academic skills including note taking, test prep, study strategies, and time management. However, in addition, the Scholars are learning skills around resiliency, understanding the intersectionality of race, ethnicity, gender, and tribal citizenship in higher education. The Scholars Program is directly discussing potential socio-cultural challenges that Native students may encounter at predominantly white institutions and strategies to help in overcoming those challenges.

    A committee of seven members helped ensure that the Scholars Program was tailored to meet the needs of our students. The members included all four Scholars teaching faculty and three professors with expertise in psychology, education and the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship. In addition, College Horizons is working closely with a Native evaluator who is helping to indigenize our research process.

    Currently, the Scholars Program is about to kick off our year-round advising for all Scholars who participated in the inaugural program as well as any other interested CH alums who are in their first year of college. The next Scholars Program will take place from July 7 to 28, 2018 and the application will be released in March 2018. If you are interested in the 2018 Scholars Program or if you are a CH alum and first year college student interested in the advising program, please contact or 505-414-1010.

  • College Horizons Hires Director of Scholars Program

    College Horizons is thrilled to welcome Mikaela Crank Thinn to our team this month!  A veteran CH faculty member and site coordinator, Mikaela is a citizen of the Navajo Nation.  Originally from Dennehotso, Arizona, she is of the Towering House and Folded Arms clans and her grandfather's clans are Salt and Red House. Mikaela is also a 2002 College Horizons and 2007 Graduate Horizons alumna who has received her B.A. in Communication with a minor in American Indian Studies from Arizona State University as well as an Ed.M. from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. In her previous position, Mikaela worked at Stanford University's Office of Undergraduate Admission and specialized in undergraduate admissions, college access, Native outreach, advocacy and student support. 

     "Mikaela is ideal for this position - from her upbringing in a rural Native context, to her excellence in work and education, as well as being a College Horizons and Graduate Horizons alumna, all means that she understands exactly where many of our students are coming from and where they can go," reflected Carmen Lopez, Executive Director of College Horizons. "As one who has navigated this path and has devoted her career to understanding and supporting the needs of Native students in both secondary and higher education, we couldn't be more excited to have her in the lead with this new initiative." 

    In her new role with College Horizons, Mikaela will direct and oversee all aspects of the inaugural College Horizons Scholars Program, our new 3-week summer bridge program for graduated high school seniors as they make their transition into the first year of college. She will work to see that students of the Scholars Program receive a culturally relevant and rigorous writing program that bolsters student skills in three key areas - writing, reading and discussion typical of a college environment. As part of this program, Mikaela will also develop and implement ongoing college advising for our students and conduct program evaluation while leveraging the expertise of the College Horizons network to help ensure a strong vision for the program. This work also furthers College Horizons' overall goal to ensure that our students are not only admitted but succeed in college and beyond. 

    "This role brings me full circle and I am honored to have this opportunity to work for an incredible organization. College Horizons changed my trajectory and now I am able to provide that experience for other Native students who are starting their college journeys. The Scholars Program is an innovative and empowering way to support our Native students in the undergraduate-to-graduate degree pipeline," offered Director of Scholars Program, Mikaela Crank Thinn.

    A very warm welcome to the CH Team, Mikaela!  Mikaela Crank Thinn can be contacted at Read her bio on our Staff Page.


  • Announcing the College Horizons Scholars Program!

    College Horizons is thrilled to introduce a new summer program that will launch in 2017! The College Horizons Scholars Program is a three-week writing academy that will service college bound Native students as they graduate from high school and immediately prior to entering college. We are very pleased to announce that our inaugural class of scholars will be hosted by Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin in 2017 and then at Amherst College in 2018. A generous grant of $650,000 over the span of three years has been awarded to College Horizons in partnership with Lawrence University from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation in order to make this new program possible. 

    (A photo of small group 5 students and faculty from College Horizons at Lawrence University in 2016. Participants pose for photo while standing on stairs and wearing matching t-shirts stand in front of a campus building)

    This culturally relevant and rigorous program will serve to sharpen students' writing, reading and discussion skills in order to boost confidence and make the transition to college smoother for students as they begin their freshman year. Students at the program will experience college-level instruction and receive techniques and strategies for navigating the academic and social challenges inherent to transitioning into a college environment. Furthermore, students will receive ongoing advising and support once the program concludes and throughout their undergraduate career. The program will aim to address the unique challenges and strengths that Native American students bring to their higher education experience.  

    "Many of our students stand to benefit from bridge programming in order to better prepare them for a college environment. Particularly, Native students from first-generation, rural or low-income homes and communities," states Carmen Lopez, Executive Director of College Horizons. "Even students who may have excelled in and exhausted their high school curriculum can be very challenged as they enter a rigorous college environment - in addition to the academic and financial hurdles, many Native students can feel uniquely isolated as they live away from family, culture and homelands for the first time. This program is designed to ease that transition. We don't just want to see our students admitted to college - we want them to thrive, graduate from college, and then be prepared to earn a graduate or professional degree. This pipelining work is critical to our mission at College Horizons and Graduate Horizons."

    To head this new initiative, College Horizons has selected a Director of Scholars Program who will oversee the planning and implementation of the Scholars Program. Mikaela Crank Thinn M.Ed. (CH '02 and GH '07) has been selected to head the new initiative in the coming months. She joins the College Horizons team from her previous position at Stanford University's Office of Undergraduate Admission. Read more about Mikaela and her new position here

    For more information about the Scholars Program, read the Mellon Foundation's announcement here and check back with the College Horizons website in the coming months as we announce more information.