American Indian students invest in their future at RECHARGE conference
Malachi Boni came to ASU’s RECHARGE conference looking for inspiration. Accordingly, the Globe High School sophomore seemed to find it, saying that the event helped him think about his choices after graduation and how going to college might help him fulfill his dreams of becoming a writer.
That reaction illustrates the aim of the annual RECHARGE conference, which took place in January at Arizona State University's West campus: to provide a platform for American Indian students in grades seven through 12 to invest in their education, future and community.
Throughout the daylong event, nearly 200 junior high and high school students took part in engaging activities and inspiring presentations on topics like culture and identity, college readiness, financial aid and scholarships and college majors.
Students participated in professional and student panels centered around five learning communities — STEM, arts/design/performance, business/leadership, Native history/languages and public/social services. They also received information on financial aid and attended a resource fair that included Native and ASU resources. The last session of the day was a hands-on activity centered around their learning community.
RECHARGE participant Ashley Lopez is a junior at Desert View High School in Tucson and a member of the Tohono O’odham tribe. She appreciated the amount of detailed information she received at the conference.
“I’ve learned a lot from other peoples’ experience, hearing them talk about how they dealt with things like meeting new people and being away from home,” Lopez said.
Nolan Dayon, an eighth-grader at Greenfield Junior High in Gilbert and member of the Hopi tribe also attended RECHARGE. He hopes to study mathematics and engineering and found the STEM sessions especially interesting. He also felt the information about preparing for college and financial aid were very helpful.
“Financially it will help us out a lot, so I have that knowledge down the road,” Dayon said.
A second RECHARGE conference is scheduled for Feb. 20 at the West campus.
ASU also offers a summer program geared for American Indian students called Inspire. The no-cost, weeklong, residential college readiness program for high school students focuses on academics, personal development and connecting with the ASU American Indian community.
“The RECHARGE conference and Inspire summer program demonstrate ASU’s commitment to excellence, accessibility and local impact for Native American students, their families and their communities,” said Sylvia Symonds, associate vice president of Educational Outreach and Student Services. “We are pleased to offer support and guidance as they pursue their higher education and career goals.”
For questions about the Inspire Summer Program, contact Danyel Chleborad at Danyel.Chleborad@asu.edu. The application period for the program closes April 1.