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2019 Terry Sanford Leadership Award Winner: Shandiin Herrera



yeah – Asian Dean Herrera Ganesha touching initially knock hi my name is Jin Dean Herrera and I'm from Monument Valley Utah on the Navajo Nation I grew up in an all Navajo community so when I came to Dukes campus I already knew I was coming into an environment where I would most likely be the only Native student and many of my circles definitely in my classes I kind of came in with the mindset that I needed to be an advocate for myself it took a lot of courage for me to raise my hand in class or even approach professor's outside the classroom and ask them why they're playing into these stereotypes of Native people Duke unfortunately doesn't have an American Indian studies program no Native American faculty members at Duke nor staff members so a lot of the support here we had to create I was so fortunate to find other Native students who were in the Sanford School of Public Policy who could offer me support and help me navigate my first couple of years at Duke and so when I was trying to figure out what I wanted to do they recommend it I just take you know pop all 155 which is the intro class to policy and I think I saw a lot of how I could use the policy skills in my own community I could you know gain knowledge to go back and help my tribe and understand the jurisdictional issues we face I felt like I finally found something I would be passionate about I decided that this is what I wanted to do the Faculty of Stanford was just available and I think that was what I noticed right off the bat they made me a priority and that really made such a difference and I just felt like Sanford had to come home for me I immediately connected with Professor Rose and I asked her to be my advisor professor Rose was just so confident and I didn't have a lot of professors who were women of color the way she carried herself and how confident she was gave me confidence I reached out to other professors in Sanford to see what classes that could take but ultimately led me to meeting Suzanne and Elise and they've really just been like the backbone support I really needed for my internship I wanted to do something with Native Nations or policies that affect indigenous people and so they really helped me understand the process and so for my summer internship I participated in what's called the Native American congressional internship through the Udall foundation so they choose 12 Native American students across the country to participate and essentially you're placed in either the House or the Senate it was my first opportunity to combine my education with what I was passionate about though it's challenging there are people out there who want to support us it took me a while to find those people at Duke but they are here they are in Stanford and if you just find the right people find the right support that we can do anything you want you

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