My story begins near White Horse, South Dakota, a community of nearly 100 people (not 100,000, just simply 100) in the north central part of South Dakota on the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation. Born and raised on a cattle ranch a few miles west of this small community, I was instilled with a strong work ethic, a sense of community, and an appreciation of my culture at a young age. This has continued throughout my life, and I am thankful to the ASA Monitor for allowing me to share the story of my journey.

Neither of my parents had finished college, so to them, it was imperative that I sought out experiences that could advance my education. Early on, I remember my parents giving me the ultimatum, “either go to INMED or stay home and work on the ranch.” The summer after I was given the choice between a...

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