Los Alamos Community Funds Three Scholarships For Navajo Women Pursuing Business And Engineering Degrees

Three women from the Navajo tribe have received scholarships in memory of Julie Meadows, pictured above, who died of a brain tumor in 2009. Courtesy photo


Three New Mexico college women from the Navajo tribe have received a $1200 scholarship each for the 2021-22 school year from the Julie’s Helpers Memorial Scholarship Committee at White Rock Presbyterian Church.

Alys Allen is a sophomore at San Juan College fulfilling requirements to transfer to New Mexico State University to study Civil Engineering.  Kailani Charlie is a junior at New Mexico Tech, on an academic path to become a Civil Engineer. Kristen Etsitty in a junior at The University of New Mexico, majoring in business.

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 eleven years, raising over $37,000 for 23 scholarships since 2011. 

This year, three awards are being made to women who exemplify Julie’s spirit of family devotion, strong work ethic, community service and educational achievement.

Alys Allen—Alys is from the community of Sanostee, NM, near Shiprock.  She notes that remote learning at San Juan College during the 2020 pandemic shutdown was challenging. She was grateful that the Navajo Nation and other groups provided food and water distributions for families during the time when COVID-19 was raging on the Navajo Nation. The hardships that she went through helped her resolve to finish her preliminary work at San Juan College this year, where she has a 3.01 GPA, and transfer to NMSU to obtain a BS in Civil Engineering. Alys hopes to use her degree to help her Navajo community in the areas of infrastructure improvement and cleaning up the environment. She would like to mentor Navajo youth to enter STEM fields. 

Kailani Charlie—Kailani Charlie is from Red Valley on the Navajo Nation in Arizona. She recently graduated from junior college at New Mexico Military Institute in Roswell, with a degree in pre-engineering. She is now enrolled at New Mexico Tech in Socorro, where she is pursuing a degree in Mechanical Engineering. Her career goals include improving technology and internet services on the Navajo Nation as well as inspiring female students to study math and science. Kailani has a strong allegiance to her family and is thankful to her mom who sacrificed and supported her through her educational journey.  She is committed to aligning her Navajo cultural values of Beauty Way, Hozho Nasli,’ in her education and career. 

Kristen Etsitty—Kristen is a native of Fruitland, NM, near Farmington.  She is a junior at UNM with a 3.5 GPA who plans to use a business degree to start her own business on the Navajo Nation.  She has overcome health challenges in her life and would like to use those experiences to help others with self-care. She also has a heart for animals and plans to address the need for pet neutering animal welfare on the Navajo Nation in her business endeavors.  Kristen has always worked to help pay for her tuition and fees; this scholarship will help her to stay on course to finish her degree.

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.