Gay I. & Harry C. Leslie III Scholarship Recipient | Meet Robin F. Powless

About you:

I am a Bad River tribal member, from the Bad River Reservation. I have two grown sons, who are on their own with their own families. I would say that I am a non-traditional student, because I began my college career later in life.

Why did you decide to pursue a college degree with Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwe College?

I decided to pursue a college degree because I had worked for over thirty years in an office job and that came to an end, and I felt that I needed to make a positive change in my life. I always wanted to enroll in college with a goal of learning the Ojibwe language and eventually helping to teach it in my community. I started school with the intention of obtaining a Liberal Arts degree along with an Ojibwe Language Certification. Those plans changed when an opportunity presented itself to teach in the community Head Start Immersion Program and I made the decision to change my major and pursue the Early Childhood Head Start degree and continue working on my Ojibwe Language Certification.

How is Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwe College different from other college options?

Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwe College is different for me because the outreach classes I attend are based in my community and that makes it easier for me to continue working on my education. I appreciate that I don’t have to travel far from home to attend classes.

What has been your favorite class so far?

I am not sure that I have a favorite class thus far, I think that College Writing showed me that I could be successful at writing and the Higher Education class helped me to be a better student. In my personal experience I have not always worked to be the best I could be as a student and being in college has given me the motivation to do that.

What student organizations are you a part of? Why?

I have not been able to join in any student organizations with the college yet. I hope that I can be a part of that in the future.

What advice would you give someone who is undecided on starting college?

My advice would be to take a chance and do your best. I started college when I was in my late 50’s and it has been a challenge keeping up, but everything I worked for has been worth it. Do your best and always ask for help from your teachers, advisers, tutors, and fellow students.

What will you do after you complete your degree with Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwe College?

After I receive my degree, I will work with young children in my community helping to teach our children the Ojibwe language and helping to shape the lives of those who are in our care.

What does it mean to you to attend college in our local community?

Attending college in my local community has been a great experience, I have had the opportunity to create bonds and friendships with young people, teachers, and site support workers. I feel that if I do my best, I can be a good role model for those ones coming behind me. Being in school in my community makes it easier for me to reach out for help.

What does it mean to you to attend a Tribal College?

I appreciate being able to attend a Tribal College. The college promotes the premise that the Anishinaabe culture and language are important aspects of an education. I like that culture is included in all degrees and that all staff and teachers are supportive. I feel that as a student it’s important to feel welcome and comfortable in place where you spend a considerable amount of time.

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