NSU builds support center for Native Americans
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NSU builds support center for Native Americans

Published 10/12/17

Trista Vaughn

TNE Writer

NSU has recently welcomed the Native American Support Center.

NASC is funded by the U.S. Department of Education, Title III grant. This grant is to support Native Americans students to overcome obstacles in college. The NASC is under the authority of the Division of Academic Affairs.

“The NASC is a federally-funded program that seeks to increase Native American students’ retention and completion of higher education,” said Mary Norwall,  NASC director. “We provided services for students who self-identify as Native American and/or citizens of a federally-recognized tribe.”

NASC offers personal, academic and career coaching, as well as peer tutoring and advisement. In addition, they also offer research and graduate school preparation, college success workshops, peer mentoring and cultural activities.

“Native Americans make up 34 percent of the NSU population,” said Norwall. “With that number being very large, NASC offers personal academic and career coaching.”

NASC personal academic and career coaching is made up of five mentors. The mentors are either juniors or seniors. Once a month, the students who have signed up for this program get to spend time with the mentors.

“We welcome a faculty member from campus to be a part of our meeting with the students and mentors,” said Norwall. “We invite faculty members so that students can get familiar with the instructors. Some of the instructors are Native American and some of them are not.”

NASC pairs the students and the mentors. They want the student and the mentor to benefit from each other. The students who apply for the program consist of freshmen, sophomores and transfer students.

Along with Norwall, Jade Hansen, student service coordinator, also plays a big role in NASC.

“My job for NASC have been assisting students by critiquing resumes, actively job searching with students and providing guidance in resumes and cover letters,” said Hansen. “I have been collaborating with the NSU Career Services in assisting with their campus events such as the part-time job fair. Over the next few months I am planning on holding workshops for NASC students including resume building and career exploration.”

Madison Shoemaker, Muskogee sophomore, believes this is a opportunity for Native Americans.

“I think that it is very important that NSU have the Native American Support Center,” said Shoemaker. “It provides services that better the quality of education for Native American students. According to study conducted last spring, only 9.3 percent of Native American students earned a college degree compared to the national average of 20.3 percent. I believe that the NASC supports our Native American students and encourages them to complete their degree plan.”

Although the main office is based with Center for Tribal Studies on the second floor of the John Vaughan Library, NASC offer the same services to the Muskogee and Broken Arrow campuses.

NASC will have an open house from 2-4 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 25  on the second floor of the John Vaughan Library. NSU students, staff and faculty are welcome to attend.

For more information about NASC, email at Norwall nordwall@nsuok.edu.


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