New Beginnings for Students of the Tribes of Southern New England

Supporting Native students through integrated financial, cultural, and academic programs

Native and Indigenous students make up the lowest proportion of any racial/ethnic group at UConn, with only 0.1% of students identifying as Native or Indigenous. While Tribal Colleges in other parts of the country provide Native and Indigenous students with educational and community-building opportunities, no such colleges exist in the northeast.

This program aims to help impact positive change for Native students at UConn.

Through a grant from the United States Department of Agriculture, this program will provide full scholarships for an initial cohort of three students starting in Fall 2022 and a four-person cohort starting in Fall 2023. Students will be recruited from tribes across Southern New England. Participating students will enter a two-year program in the Ratcliffe Hicks School of Agriculture where they will gain the technical skills necessary to work in careers in agriculture and/or continue their education to earn a four-year degree.

The curriculum developed through this program will teach students the skills necessary for high potential jobs through an Indigenous framework. This approach to food and sustainability education emphasizes the connections between people, plants, animals, and the land on which they reside.

The program will provide students with weekly mentoring meetings with advisors and other students in their cohort. The faculty in Ratcliffe Hicks will help connect students to summer internships and other opportunities to help them explore their interests. The program will also help students learn time management, leadership, and communication skills necessary for success beyond their time at UConn. The program will also include a monthly seminar series by Native and Indigenous scholars.

The UConn team is working closely with Tribal leaders in Connecticut including those from the Mohegan and Mashantucket Pequot, Nipmuc, and Golden Hill Paugussett tribes.

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