Highlights from our Graduates!


Monique Thacker

Doctorate Student in School Psychology                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       

Monique Thacker is a member of the Makah tribe, located in Neah Bay Washington. She received her Associates in Arts degree in 2003, and then transferred to the University of Washington, where she completed a Bachelors of Science degree in Psychology with a minor in American Indian Studies in 2005. In 2013, Monique obtained her Master of Education in Educational Psychology at the University of Utah. Monique is currently working towards her Doctorate in School Psychology.

At the University of Utah, Monique has been an active member of the Native American community. She is a member of Indigenous Students and Allies for Change (ISAC), The Society of Native American Graduate Students (SNAGS), and she has mentored Native American students in the Jordan and Canyon’s School District.




Jennifer Leo

Indian Educator Mentor

Graduated from University of Utah with a Bachelors in Sociology, and Masters in Education

See My Video Here!


Rose Yazzie, Navajo

Elementary Teacher at Tse'bii'nidzisgai Elementary

University of Utah Class of 2014                                                                                                                        

My Time at the U of U

Beginning as a transfer student from Salt Lake Community college it was hard to navigate the university at first. After getting connected to different advisors through students groups like ITSA (inter-Tribal Student Association) the process was much easier. I found several ways to study education while applying and working directly with the indigenous community in the area. The COE, UITE, and Honors Education advisors worked with me to make relevant practicum opportunities possible including after school practicum with the Title VII group and the focus of my honors thesis relating back to indigenous students and their educational experiences. I loved that the University of Utah gave me the chance to do what I loved and explore different aspects of education.

My educational philosophy

While building experience as an educator through practicum I began to look more critically at the educational experiences of indigenous students, including my own. My research in the subject along with my own experiences have shaped my philosophy to work toward equity in the education system beginning with the elementary level. I believe in educators that can empower students and communities through collaboration and by working through critical frameworks.




My Time at the U of U

Funston WhiteMan

Tribal Affiliation: Southern Cheyenne and Navajo. I am a member of the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes.

Bachelors of Arts, Teaching History, Spring 2005.

The University of Utah embraces diversity. It is the mission of the University of Utah to provide a culture where diversity was respected. During my time at the U, this mission enhanced my understanding and valuing of diversity. The U prepared me as a pre-service teacher in order to be fully equipped for the teacher workforce. Coupled with the College of Education and the American Indian Teacher Training Program, I was fortunate to be equipped as a teacher who taught not only to American Indian students, but also non Indian students. This process was critical as it granted my non Indian students with an understanding of American Indian people. The pre-service teacher training I received was cutting edge. The University of Utah supported the AITTP and its mission to train effective teachers for our American Indian student population.

As an AITTP graduate, I relocated to my home state in Oklahoma. I taught in an urban public school district in Oklahoma. I practiced and encouraged diversity in my classroom. During my teaching tenure, I developed a written curriculum titled the Cheyenne and Arapaho Book Project. This written curriculum provided an awakening for my Tribe. Our tribal people were learning about their history and culture. After my teaching career, I then began work as a school administrator. This opportunity allowed me to devise effective teaching methodology for my teachers. I helped to develop support programs within our school to assist the American Indian student population.

Currently, I am in the final stages of my dissertation research. My inquiry seeks to identify funding into a single high Indian enrollment public school district in Oklahoma. I explore the fiscal trends with Indian funding over a seven-year period. As a quantitative study, my dissertation advances doctoral research of American Indians attending public schools. Today, I am working as the Executive Director of Education for the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes. It is my aim to bring cohesion, collaboration, and cooperation between the Department and public school districts and other stakeholders in Oklahoma. More importantly, it is crucial that I continue to embrace and encourage diversity. The U supported my family and we always felt we were a part of the community in Salt Lake City. Go Utes!

 See my video page here!


Jason W. Kemble, Ponca Nation

Secondary Teacher and School Counselor at Granite School District                                                                                           

University of Utah Class of 2005, and 2007


My Time at the U of U

My time at the University of Utah was invaluable. Little did I know the doors and possibilities that would open up for me and the influence I would have with students from all different backgrounds. My education has allowed me to not only help my family but has helped me to make a positive impact on the daily lives of youth who struggle with different aspects of their lives. On a daily basis I have the opportunity to make a difference. I work in Granite School District in Salt Lake City, Utah. I have worked with many American Indian students from Navajo, Ute, Goshute, and many more tribes. Every day I go to work I feel like my job is purposeful and fulfilling. I came from very similar circumstances as many of the students I serve. I am grateful that my education allows me to give back in a small way. I look forward to working in the field of education and serving under privileged youth for years to come.