Native Forward Scholars Fund Announces Prestigious Student of the Year Award at 2024 Empowering Scholars Summit

Winning scholars recognized for their commitment to Native excellence and leadership on and off campus.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M., July 1, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — Native Forward Scholars Fund, the largest direct provider of scholarships to Native students, has announced the winners of the 2023 Students of the Year Award. One undergraduate and one graduate student each were honored for their success in higher education and their contributions to the communities around them:

  • Stephen Silva-Brave (Rosebud Sioux Tribe of the Rosebud Indian Reservation), undergraduate degree in social work at the University of Texas at Arlington
  • Breckin Horton (Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma), fourth-year medical student at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx, New York

Angelique Albert, CEO of Native Forward Scholars Fund, said: “The Student of the Year Award commemorates the achievements of student leaders that are actively working to build a better world for all of us, and Stephen and Breckin are inspiring scholars who we at Native Forward are honored to recognize this year. I commend their dedication to cultural preservation and the public good throughout their higher education journeys, and am eager to continue supporting Native Forward scholars at the Summit and beyond.”

Since 2018, the award has recognized personal mission and academic excellence. This year’s awardees seek to undo generations of systemic injustice perpetrated toward Native communities through their respective professional pursuits.

The annual Empowering Scholars Summit is a free, three-day immersion opportunity for Native Forward awardees to grow their academic and professional expertise. The Summit seeks to be a space where Native students can elevate their professional skills, expand their social capital and networks, enhance their personal brand, and develop an executive presence.

“Native Forward has helped lift the financial burden so I can stay focused on the end goal,” said awardee Stephen Silva-Brave. “Being a Native Forward Scholar signifies more than financial support, though. It represents a belief in my vision for a community where Indigenous knowledge and social justice pave the way for healing and empowerment.”

“Native Forward has been an invaluable ally, empowering me to pursue my aspirations while simultaneously addressing the pressing needs of marginalized communities,” said awardee Breckin Horton. “Their support, spanning tuition assistance to exam fees and study materials, has been instrumental in alleviating the financial burdens associated with medical education, enabling me to focus wholeheartedly on my academic pursuits and community endeavors.”

Native Forward Scholars Fund has delivered more funding in direct scholarship dollars and support services to American Indian and Alaska Native students in the U.S. than any other scholarship provider. The Albuquerque-based nonprofit is committed to ensuring that every Native student who wants to pursue higher education has the resources to do so. Over 53 years, it has empowered over 22,000 scholars from more than 500 Tribes in all 50 states and contributed to over 1,700 law degrees and more than 2,200 PhD degrees. Through scholarship funding and holistic support, Native Forward has increased the graduation rates of undergraduate students to 69%, compared to the national average of 41% for Native students, and has boosted the rate for graduate students to 95%. The organization’s alumni are among the most influential Native leaders in the U.S., including Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland, Pulitzer Prize finalist Tommy Orange, and Dr. Cynthia Chavez Lamar, Director of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian.

Contact: Sara LaBarge 
(505) 881-4584
[email protected]

SOURCE Native Forward Scholars Fund

Native Forward new logo and name. (PRNewsfoto/Native Forward Scholars Fund)

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