This year, the UNC American Indian Center was able to offer a scholastic award to two students in the form of the Student Success Award. This award was given to students who had displayed service and leadership in their home communities. The goal of the award is to support students in sharing their talents with the campus community by providing them with additional funding for books and supplies. Alyssa Clark and Elizabeth Silver were chosen for this award.
Alyssa Clark, a rising junior from from the Lumbee Tribe, aspires to be a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist. She has known that she wants to serve her community as a medical health professional since she was in high school, and has worked hard towards that goal. Alyssa is already a Certified Nursing Assistant, and puts her skills to good use. As a high school student, she volunteered and interned with local nursing homes and hospitals. Despite her busy schedule at UNC-Chapel Hill, this Tar Heel also makes time to work as a nursing assistant at UNC Hospital. Alyssa plans to work in Robeson County after she finishes her education so that she can better serve the Native American population there, as she wants to use her position as a nurse to change peoples’ lives for the better.
Another rising junior, Elizabeth Silver is already well on her way to establishing herself as a leader in the Haliwa-Saponi community. She has shown her investment in her people’s culture by regularly attending cultural classes and taking part in a traditional coming of age ceremony. Elizabeth has worked to raise awareness in her community about sexual harassment and assault, using her 2017 campaign for Miss Haliwa Saponi Princess and later speaking engagements to do so. While at UNC-Chapel Hill, Elizabeth has further honed her community leadership skills. She worked as a Community Counselor for Project Uplift in 2019, where she led group activities and forums with the goal of encouraging minority high school students to apply to college. Elizabeth has been an active member of the Carolina Indian Circle, joining their executive team as Cultural Co-Chair in 2019, and is the Vice-President Elect for the 2020-2021 school year. Elizabeth plans to attend law school after UNC, and to eventually practice family law as a way to help survivors of domestic violence.