BILLINGS, Mont. — Diné College’s top organizers of the 2019 American Indian Higher Education Consortium (AIHEC) agree on one main thing: The annual event is a magnificent opportunity for students to grow and learn intellectually.
Students participated in everything from meetings to academic contests to networking opportunities with administrators from fellow tribal colleges and universities.
Diné College had two teams come away with first place honors and another four finish in second place at the recent event.
“We selected outstanding coaches and student participants from main campus and the other centers,” Reeverson Descheny, director of career advancement at Diné College, said. Descheny attended the event last year as a co-organizer, too.
“The rewarding part is students sharing their phenomenal experiences of the conference and travel overall. Having our Diné College President Charles Roessel and Board of Regent Sharon Todacheenie in attendance uplifted our spirits and momentum throughout the conference.”
Descheny, an Arizona State University graduate, said there were 29 student participants along with 9 coaches this year, compared with 20 students and 15 coaches and staffers in 2018. He noted that six of this year’s 29 were prior AIHEC participants.
Patrick Blackwater, a business administration and marketing instructor at Diné College, was this year’s other co-organizer. Blackwater, a Diné College grad, agreed that students do learn and grow from the AIHEC experience.
That was echoed by the reigning Miss Diné College, Mariah Lee. Lee called AIHEC a great experience.
“It was my first going to (AIHEC). I had no idea what it was going to be like.”
Lee, who is from Many Farms, Ariz., competed in Critical Inquiry. She was part of the team that won a second place award. She continued, It was well-worth it. It was so amazing to meet people from different tribes (Cree, Crow, Oglala Lakotas, Nakotas, Cheyenne). I was happy to be there and represent myself, my family, Diné College, and all of my Diné people.
Diné College AIHEC winners
First place: Webpage Design: Anthony Hale, Ryan Lee (Individual Entries). Coach: Matthew Bob.
First place: Science Traditional Plants/Herbs: Korrie Brown. Coach Audre Etsitty.
Second place: Critical Inquiry: Charlene Bahe, Miranda Smith, Delia Wauneka, Mariah Lee. Coach: Duane Bahe.
Second place: Science Poster: Tyler Begay. Coach: Audre Etsitty.
Second place: Photography: Ritchie Kaibetony.
Second place: Jewelry: Troy Uentillie
Established in 1972, AIHEC represents the interests of tribal colleges and universities. In 1989, AIHEC created the American Indian College Fund to raise scholarship funds for qualified American Indian students.
Information provided by Dine College
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