Father, Daughter Graduate from Fort Belknap

Aug 15th, 2000 | By | Category: 12-1: Celebrating Our Students, Tribal College News

Alissa Snow graduated with her father, James “Scott” Snow. They are pictured with Alissa’s children, Tyanna, 3 (left), and Joshlynn, 2. Photo by Terri Long Fox

James “Scott” Snow, IV, was skeptical at first about going to Fort Belknap College with his daughter, Alissa J. Snow. Alissa had her doubts, too. “It felt strange calling him Dad in computer class,” she said. As it turned out however, Scott, 45, could help Alissa with her math and English composition classes, and she in turn helped her father with their computer class. Both were successful students, Scott with a 4.0 cumulative grade point average and Alissa with a 3.88. They graduated together June 10 with associate degrees from the tribal college in Harlem, Mont., in north central Montana.

The Fort Belknap College staff selected Alissa as the college’s Student of the Year for both her academic achievements and her community service. A full-time student, Alissa also has two toddlers at home and was active in the student government and the Head Start parent committee. Living with her father and her grandmother helped her ration her time; her grandmother helped her with her daughters.

As vice president of the student government, she traveled to Washington, D.C. Although she had never flown before, she thought it was important to speak to members of Congress about the importance of her tribal college experience. As student of the year, she received a $1,000 scholarship from the American Indian College Fund, which was made possible by the Castle Rock Foundation. She is of Gros Ventre and Blackfeet descent and is transferring to the University of Montana to major in computer science.

Scott went back to college because he said he was stuck in a dead end office job. He focused upon natural resources so he could work outdoors. Fort Belknap is well known for its science faculty and curriculum. In the summer of 1999, he worked for the college doing research on water quality. Because of a near-by gold mine, the people on the reservation are deeply concerned about the quality of their water. That experience changed his life. “I really enjoyed it. It was worthwhile, helping the people out,” he said. Scott plans to transfer to Montana State University-Northern to pursue a baccalaureate degree in water quality and environmental health.

To honor his achievements and his dreams, the David and Lucille Packard Foundation awarded Scott a two-year scholarship for $20,000. The Packard Foundation has provided funds to tribal colleges to support math and science education for several years. Scott advises other older students, “It’s never too late to take positive steps to better your life and better your people.”

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