POLACCA, Ariz. — Katrice Puhuhefvaya, a Gates Millennium Scholarship winner out of Hopi High School, is having a successful freshman year at Northern Arizona University (NAU).
The Gates Millennium Scholarship is one of the most prestigious in the country as it covers tuition for all four years as long as the student keeps her grades up.
“This year has been great. I’m enjoying it and getting all A’s and B’s,” she said. “I’m keeping my grades up and taking the correct amount of credit hours.”
Puhuhefvaya is majoring in nursing and minoring in radio. She said Hopi High School did a good job of preparing her for college, especially her math and writing classes.
She took dual enrollment math classes while at Hopi High School, meaning she was getting college credit with Northland Pioneer College so she didn’t have to worry about taking math at NAU.
Puhuhefvaya, who is Hopi, Tewa and Navajo, is glad that NAU has a Native American Center because she sometimes goes there to study and printout her classroom assignments.
“I am hoping that more students come here from Hopi,” she said.
Aside from the Gates Millennium Scholarship, she has a scholarship from the Hopi Tribe, a Pell grant and financial aid.
Puhuhefvaya said when she first arrived at NAU she experienced some cultural shock, but as time went on she settled in.
Puhuhefvaya said her journalism and radio classes at Hopi High helped prepare her for college.
“The journalism class improved my writing and the radio class made me more outspoken,” she said.
This year Puhuhefvaya is focusing on mostly science classes to prepare her for nursing. Her classes include biology, microbiology, psychology and anthropology.
Next year, she will take radio classes with hopes of getting on KJAK, the NAU radio station.
Puhuhefvaya credits her NAU Academic Advisor Scott Caliendo with the advice of getting her through her freshman year.
Her advice to students going off to NAU or other colleges is: “Don’t be afraid. It’s not as hard as it seems. Go to learn, make friends, but don’t get distracted. Keep work on your mind.”
She also advises high school students preparing to go to college to get good grades in high school because that results in scholarships.
“Keep applying for scholarships,” she said.
Puhuhefvaya said she is glad she is at NAU so she can go home as often as she wants.
“I miss home,” she said. “It’s good to go home, see my family and relax.”
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