Jonnie Woodie/Courtesy Photo
Marcella Kee/Courtesy photo
BY JENNIFER HOLMES
Navajo women studying pre-med and education receive $3,500 to further goals of serving the Navajo Nation
Jonnie Woodie is a junior at New Mexico Tech and is doing biomedical research with one of her professors on treating type 2 diabetes. Marcella Kee is a sophomore at UNM-Gallup who wants to inspire native youth as a teacher on the Navajo Nation. 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 Los Alamos National Laboratory 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 10 years, raising over $33,500 for 20 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: Jonnie Woody- Jonnie is from Shiprock and has done volunteer work in the Philippines as well as on the campus of New Mexico Tech in Socorro where she is a junior majoring in biomedical science. She comes from a large rural family, and due to the Covid19 pandemic she is currently out of a job. She has a 3.18 GPA and is passionate about helping Navajo tribal members manage and overcome type 2 diabetes, a disease which she herself has overcome through healthier habits, setting goals and using current technology. She plans to attend medical school and serve as a physician on the Navajo Nation, helping her people address generational trauma and disease through culturally sensitive practices. “I want to challenge the current relationship between western medicine and Native American people,” she stated in her scholarship application.
$1000 Scholarship: Marcella Kee – Marcella will be a sophomore at UNM-Gallup, and she wants to inspire high school students on the Navajo Nation to attend college. She hopes to put supports in place to raise the high school graduation rate on the Navajo Nation. Even though her first year of college was different than she expected, she focused on her studies, used available resources and maintained a 4.12 GPA. She hopes to encourage other native high school graduates to do the same. She found time to volunteer at a tutoring center and was noted by her professors as being outgoing and collaborative. “Being a native educator gives other native students a way to connect with a teacher who can understand their background,” she said in her application.
Scholarships are based on academic merit, dedication to serving the Navajo people and financial need. Donations are appreciated and 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 forms, past winners and photos can be seen at the scholarship website, julieshelpers.com.