Tianna Freeman, a second-year graduate student in the McKay School of Education, was honored with the National Association of School Psychologists-Education and Research Trust Minority Scholarship, which highlights promising future professionals pursuing careers in school psychology. The award seeks to support culturally diverse graduate students who will work and provide need-based services to diverse populations upon entering the workforce.
Each year NASP presents one or more students with a minority graduate student award, which comes as a great honor for Freeman and BYU’s school psychology program. Freeman is the second Native American student enrolled in the school psychology program at BYU.
Having grown up in an encouraging family who motivated her to achieve her dreams, Freeman wants to offer that same support to Native American school students.
“I want to be more than the guidance counselor; I want to be the support system that is lacking in my hometown,” said Freeman.
Being one-fourth Hopi Indian, she joined BYU’s dance company Living Legends during her undergraduate years and was inspired to connect with her history and cultural traditions. This encouraged her to make an ultimate goal of working with Native American students in her hometown school system of Camp Verde, Arizona.
“Growing up, my friends didn’t have the same opportunities I had, and I felt a need to help them,” said Freeman. “That need to help has carried over to my professional career.”
Native American students are not aware of all of the opportunities they have available to them and consequently do not take advantage of the many opportunities at hand.
Freeman found through her thesis research that the thing that motivates Native American students to graduate from high school and achieve great things is having someone who they can look up to and who can motivate them.
“Their perspective changes in the things that they can achieve,” Freeman said.
March 3, 2016
Writer: Joann Distler
Contact: Cynthia Glad (801) 422-1922