Bridget Begay has been coming to campus since she was a young child participating in the Edmonds Community College Powwow with her family. Now she's treasurer of the college's Native American Student Association (NASA) Club and helping to organize the college's 27th Annual Powwow, "Echoes of Our Ancestors," May 4-6 in Seaview Gym.
She's earning her Associate of Arts in Biology with plans to become a marine biologist. She's tapped into the college's resources for science, technology, engineering, and math students. She's in the college's MESA program and earned an EdSTEM$ scholarship.
Read more about Bridget's experience at the college:
Why now? This is the right time in my life for college because I want to encourage all Native American students to attend college and achieve a degree in a science, technology, engineering and/or math-related career. I chose Marine Biology because the ocean makes me curious and I look forward to doing research on marine mammals. I don't see many Native American students especially on the reservations pursuing those kind of careers and attending college. I would like to seem more of a rise of underrepresented minorities going into those fields to create a diverse environment.
Why MESA? In the MESA program, I got to know students who are on their way to reach their educational goals especially in STEM-related careers. I have met wonderful students who have common classes and we are able to form a study groups. Also, the program provides scholarship information, field trips to universities, and the annual Louis Stokes Alliances for Minority Participation (LSAMP) conference, which I attended this year.
High school: Mariner
Best college experience: making new friends in most of my classes and working together on assignments and meeting new faculty members who know student services that will benefit you — like the MESA program and the Native American Student Association (NASA) Club.
Biggest challenge: attending college as a female Dine' (Navajo) student and pursuing a career in science related career. I don't see many female Native American students attending college and that just gives me more passion to achieve my educational goals. I think that once they see many Native American students getting degrees and that they can take that education and improve their communities on the reservation. The MESA program has added to my passion — students supporting one another is just a positive environment for everyone.
Favorite memory: attending Edmonds Community College’s annual spring powwow. My family and I have been attending their powwows ever since I was young child. I wouldn't have known that I would be a member of the club that organizes the powwow. It's a great experience seeing the local community connecting with the Native tribes with great music and food.
Advice for new students: Communicate with your new classmates/instructors and know your resources on campus like the MESA program. One you get to know classmates, you can start a study group for science and math classes.
Interests: Spending time with my family and friends, playing my guitar, and walking around Seattle.
College goal: a Ph.D. in Marine Biology
Dream job: Marine Biologist — just being out in the ocean environment and doing research on the ocean's health and marine life. Plus, if I had an opportunity to swim with a whale shark that would be amazing.