I chose the Brown School’s doctoral program because of the Buder Center. I wanted to be in a supportive academic setting that would understand my perspective and passion for addressing injustices across Indian Country.

Shanondora Billiot, United Houma Nation, PhD ’17

As a Buder Scholar, I was involved in the Pow Wow Committee and served as the President of the American Indian Student Association.

Caitlin Donald, Osage/Ponca,
’14 MSW

I went into public health and social work because I wanted to connect practice and theory with my own lived experience in order to create positive social transformations within Native communities. With this training, I’m confident that I will be able to offer valuable solutions to tribal nations and communities with compassion and respect.”

Matthew Frank, Navajo,

I am forever grateful that the Buder Center and Brown School have equipped me to be in a position that continues to offer our people hope and a future.

Charity Holmes, Cherokee/Seminole-Creek, MSW ‘18

The Buder Center gave me opportunities to change critical public health issues within Indian Country, including food safety and access, hunger and nutrition, climate change and other environmental health issues, and public health infrastructure.

Lindsey Manshack, Choctaw Apache Tribe of Ebarb, MPH ’17

The support I receive as a Buder Scholar is overwhelming; if I ever need a hand, someone is always there to guide me. Because of my affiliation with research at the Center, I am providing professionals with necessary information to work with American Indian populations in a culturally competent manner.

Sarah Nelson, Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians, 2013 MSW/MPH

The Brown School provided the degree I was seeking, and I was taught by some of the best social work professors in the nation. Through the Kathryn M. Buder Center for American Indian Studies, I networked with some of the most influential leaders in Indian Country.

Charles Pourier, Oglala Lakota,
’07 MSW

With support from the Buder Center, I gained the education and skills necessary to reduce violence in tribal communities including domestic and sexual violence advocacy, evidence-based child maltreatment prevention strategies, and culturally responsive evaluation of programs and services.”

Clara Stenstrom, Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska, MSW ’19

It has been an honor and blessing to be able to support colleagues in their journeys. I take a life learner approach in my personal and professional journey and have learned from serving as a practicum supervisor as well as learned from those I supervised in practicum experiences.

Cortney Yarholar, Pawnee/Sac & Fox, MSW ’06

Being a Buder Fellow has been an amazing experience! I feel like I am part of an extended family, who not only encourages my academic endeavors, but understands my passion and need to make meaningful change in Indian Country, thus providing me with opportunities to stay connected to home.

Jessica Black, Gwich’in Athabascan, ’04 MSW, ’12 PhD

It is an honor to be at one of the top Social Work programs in the United States, concentrating on American Indian and Alaska Native social work. I am grateful to be one of the many rising Indigenous scholars in contemporary times and will make it my mission to invest, support, and advocate for our Indigenous People.

Krista Catron (Prairie Band Potawatomi), MSW ‘19

The opportunity to complete my practicum at Denver Indian Family Resource Center has allowed me to apply the knowledge and skills learned through rigorous coursework during my time at the Brown School. I have been able to further expand my experience as a social worker and impact the lives of American Indian & Alaska Native families.

Sheronnabah Harvey, Navajo, MSW ’15

I am very interested in tribal policy. I was attracted to the Brown School because of the Buder Center and its specialized course work and research focused on American Indian issues.

Jessica Laughlin, United Houma Nation, MSW/JD 2010

I chose social work because it has a broad range of possible careers. I chose the Brown School because I was attracted to the student support system that the Kathryn M. Buder Center for American Indian Studies provides.

Raulin Martin, Oglala Lakota Sioux, MSW ‘12

Before attending the Brown School and becoming a Buder scholar, I was a personal trainer with a desire to serve Indigenous people but had no means how to.  The Brown School and Buder Center provided me with the knowledge and leadership skills to create new projects and Indigenize spaces.

Eric Pinto, Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians, Zuni, MSW ‘20

The Brown School was a perfect match; however, what made it a fit was the Kathryn M. Buder Center the path to be change makers working in Indian Country to confront the most pressing social and public health issues.

Brandon Smith, Navajo,

The opportunity to have the Buder Scholarship was a real gift. I’m very grateful for it. … If you take the scholarship, you pay it back to Indian Country; you do your service back. That’s a beautiful full circle.”

Poem Swentzell, Santa Clara Pueblo, MSW ’14

25th Anniversary Alumni Stories

These stories were a part of the 25th Anniversary Celebration of the Buder Center and unless otherwise noted were last updated in 2015.  If you are a Buder Alumni and would like to update or add your story, please contact Lynn Mitchell.