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Published on October 25, 2018

Avera, SDSU Partner for Avera Wokini Scholarship Program

Avera Health and South Dakota State University are partnering on a scholarship program for undergraduate American Indian students at SDSU. The Avera Wokini Scholarship is part of a broader Wokini Initiative at the university that offers programming and support to enrolled members of the nine tribal nations in South Dakota interested in gaining access to educational and advancement opportunities. Translated from Lakota, Wokini means “seeking a new beginning.”

This year’s inaugural recipient is Morgan Ducheneaux, Timber Lake, a freshman nursing student from the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe.

Students majoring in a health care discipline are eligible for this scholarship. The first year, in 2018, there will be one $5,000 scholarship, and this will build each year with two $5,000 scholarships in 2019, three in 2020, four in 2021, and five scholarships in 2022. Avera will invest a total of $75,000 over five years. Wokini-supported students will be given the resources and access to academic, personal, health and financial wellness knowledge needed to succeed at SDSU and in life after graduation.

Along with the scholarship, recipients will also benefit from experiential learning, internship opportunities and a coordinated mentorship program. Through this mentor network, Avera Wokini scholars will be connected to an Avera Health leader for the purpose of gaining valuable guidance on career opportunities.

“I know that Avera leaders will gain as much or more from this connection than the students themselves, and we very much look forward to these new relationships,” said Avera Health President and CEO Bob Sutton. “This program aligns with Avera’s mission to make a positive impact on the lives and health of persons and communities. We at Avera are honored to collaborate with SDSU on this program.”

“One of the main goals of the Wokini Initiative is to increase enrollment in American Indian students to better reflect the demographic trend of the state,” said SDSU President Barry Dunn. “We are extremely pleased that Avera has joined with us in providing these scholarships and expanding opportunities for our American Indian students and population.”

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