BILLINGS, Mont. – From March 16-19, Navajo Technical University (NTU) students participated in the American Indian Higher Education Consortium’s 2019 student conference in Billings, Montana. Altogether, 45 students from NTU competed against the 38 tribal colleges and universities in both academic and athletic competitions. NTU students placed in 18 categories, receiving seven first place finishes among their peers.
“Each year, students of NTU have been performing exceptionally well at the AIHEC conference’s competitions,” said Dr. Casmir Agbaraji, NTU’s dean of instruction. “I’m very proud of our students and the effort they have put into preparing for the events they participated.”
NTU received honors in the majority of the conference’s writing and poetry competitions. Dana Desiderio was the winner of the Tribal College Journal’s Creative Writing Non-Fiction category for her piece “Exhalation,” while Shy Sloan was recognized in Creative Writing Fiction for her piece, “Shimá Sání.” Both students were recognized by the Tribal College Journal prior to the conference, as were honorable mention awardees Ashley Joe and Ryan Nez for their poetry. Ruby Griffith Ramirez of NTU’s Chinle instructional site was the winner of the AIHEC poetry slam competition, and Lathan Pablo placed third in humorous speech.
In the athletic competitions, NTU students pushed the competition. NTU’s volleyball team returned as champions after taking third place in last year’s tournament. The NTU volleyball team consisted of Dalyna Hannah, Cesily Cicarello, Valorie Thompson, Francesca Hubbard, Malorie McKerry, Chase Bebo, Dakota Plante, and Tyler Begay. NTU’s men’s archery team repeated as champions, and was led by Ryan Yazzie, who placed first overall with a score of 196. Nilsson Wood placed second with a score of 156. The men’s archery team consisted of Yazzie and Wood, as well as Rashaundal Combs and Chase Bebo. The women’s archery team also had a strong showing placing 2nd behind Sinte Gleska University by only 2 points. NTU was led by Darreth Johnson, who placed third overall with a score of 118. Other members of the women’s team included Dana Desiderio, Maureen Greyhair and Nicole Wilson.
NTU’s women’s basketball team also saw success, earning a third place finish in AIHEC’s division I tournament. The team was led in the third place contest against Turtle Mountain Community College by Starla Smith, who dropped 22 of her 32 points in the fourth quarter. Robyn Hubbell contributed 15 points, and freshman guard Malorie McKerry chipped in 13 points.
NTU students also placed in the following competitions:
Scientific Oral Presentation by Robinson Tom and Darrick Lee, Scientific Poster Presentation by Ryan Data, Chess Team Competition by DeeAnna James, Lathan Pablo, and Walter Francis and Powwow by Roland Begaye Jr. NTU’s Web design team of Ariel Dolfin, Kelby Spencer, Chantell Montoya and Lathan Pabloalso also received a first place spot.
Each tribal college’s Student of the Year was honored at the American Indian College Fund’s banquet, as was each institution’s Coca-Cola’s First Generation Scholar. This year, electrical engineering major Darrick Lee of Shiprock, New Mexico was selected as NTU’s Student of the Year, while Loren Tsosie of Leupp, Arizona was NTU’s First Generation Scholar.
“Our students did an excellent job of representing NTU in their respective events,” said Dr. Elmer J. Guy, President of NTU. “It was another exciting year for our students, and I’m pleased with each of their performance and most of all their exceptional representation of our university.”
Information provided by Navajo Technical University