When Crystal Lee was deciding whether to pursue a masters degree, she found out her grandfather had a month left to live. A Navajo born and raised on the reservation, Crystal was nostalgic for home. Maybe she should drop the degree and go home? Her grandfather refused: she needed to get that degree, he said. That message propelled Crystal through a masters degree and into a doctorate. But she realized many of her fellow Native Americans were dropping out, and struggling as first-generation students. So she decided to connect Native American students with Native American professors who could guide them through school. She calls it "United Natives," and its inaugural class begins this year. Crystal Lee tells us about the struggle to stay in school, and how Native American mentors can change that.
Crystal Lee, Founder, United Natives
Michelle Chino, Assoc Prof of Environmental and Occupational health, UNLV; mentor, United Natives