Chantell Yazzie is one of two young Navajo women to receive funds from the Julie Meadows Scholarship. Courtesy photo
BY JENNIFER HOLMES
Presleigh Smiley has a 10-year plan to become one of the first Navajo clinical psychologists to serve her people. Chantell Yazzie is equally determined to serve the Navajo Nation as a registered nurse, specializing in labor and delivery. Both young women will be receiving scholarship aid from the Los Alamos-based Julie’s Helpers Memorial Scholarship, administered through White Rock Presbyterian Church.
The scholarship honors the memory of Julie Meadows, a young mother and LANL employee who died of a brain tumor in 2009. Shortly before she was diagnosed, Julie participated in a mission experience with White Rock Presbyterian Church on the Navajo Nation. This experience left her with a desire to support Navajo women in their educational pursuits, as a way of positively impacting life on the reservation. Her family, church, friends and community have supported the scholarship for nine years, raising over $30,000 for 18 scholarships since 2011.
This year, two awards are being made to women who exemplify Julie’s spirit of family devotion, strong work ethic, community service and educational achievement.
$2500 Scholarship: Presleigh Smiley –Presleigh is a senior majoring in Psychology at UNM and holds a 3.9 GPA. She has a focused plan to return to her home community and with a Ph.D in Clinical Psychology and serve as a much-needed advocate for native youth who are facing serious mental and physical problems on the Navajo Nation. She credits her family for instilling in her a strong work ethic and value on education, though she is one of the first in her family to pursue a college degree. She has already served as a role model for Navajo youth by participating in many local fitness and community health-promotions in her community.
$1000 Scholarship: Chantell Yazzie – Chantell is a repeat JHMS winner, continuing her Nursing program at UNM-Gallup. She has overcome many challenges growing up in rural Arizona, but has held fast to her goal of becoming a labor and delivery nurse. Chantell has the support of her husband and two children who have had to make many sacrifices for her to be able to attend UNM-G School of Nursing full-time. She plans to graduate in May of 2020 and hopes to start work immediately at the Fort Defiance Indian Health Service Hospital on the Navajo Nation.
Scholarships are based on academic merit, dedication to serving the Navajo people and financial need. Donations are appreciated can be made at julieshelpers.com or sent to White Rock Presbyterian Church, 310 Rover Blvd., White Rock NM 87547. More information about Julie Meadows, the scholarship application form, past winners and photos can be seen at the scholarship website, julieshelpers.com.