TCJ Awards National InternshipMay 15th, 2010 | By tcj | Category: 21-4: Native American Studies, Summer 2010, Tribal College News
On February 10, 2010, Ryan Tafoya, a 25-year-old communications major at Fort Lewis College (Durango, CO), was selected for the Tribal College Journal’s national magazine internship.
Tafoya, a junior, is a native to the Four Corners area. He was raised on the Jicarilla Apache Reservation, in nearby Dulce, NM, and he would like to use his education to help solve community problems such as high suicide rates, alcoholism, and drug abuse.
TCJ selected Tafoya because of his major, interests, and solid academic record. “We had many candidates, but Ryan differentiated himself with his enthusiasm and professionalism in applying and interviewing,” says Kurt Umbhau, editor. “He’ll have a chance to be nationally published, earn some money, and experience the process of creating a magazine. The internship gives students a chance to earn extra college credits and to build a portfolio.”
Tafoya recently transferred to FLC from the University of Phoenix, in Phoenix, AZ. “At the University of Phoenix, I never would have had the chance to do something like this,” Tafoya says. “Even at Fort Lewis, the options for internships can be limited. I was pretty excited when I found out I got this position and I can’t wait to gain some experience outside of the classroom.”
Tafoya is a non-traditional college student who says he decided he had to go back to school and get his degree after some rough experiences in the job market. “It was frustrating because I could only get work doing something I was more than competent enough to do, but I didn’t have the credentials,” Tafoya says. “Now I’m earning a degree, but finding out that it might not be enough. The employment market is so thin right now that job candidates have to do whatever they can to gain an edge.”
Tafoya is about a third of the way through the program. He has already created and distributed a press release that was covered by a local and a national newspaper, assisted with preparation for a conference, and helped in the editing process of an issue. “I don’t think I fully understood how big it was for me at first,” Tafoya says. “After the press release came out, I had quite a few people congratulate me and tell me it was a great position to get. I don’t know what most internships normally entail because this is my first one, but my experiences so far have all been positive,” Tafoya says.
Tafoya has already had a memorable and enjoyable experience, and he looks forward to learning more about producing the magazine. “This internship is perfect for me,” Tafoya says, “I feel kind of like I am actually starting my career.”