AT&T Program Develops 2 TCU Student Leaders

Nov 15th, 2006 | By | Category: 18-2: Traditional Wisdom Our Strength, Tribal College News

AT&T STUDENT LEADERS. TOP: Starlynn Tourtillott of Menominee Tribal College served as intern to Senator Russ Feingold (D-Wisc.). BOTTOM: Marjeanna Burge of Haskell Indian Nations University shares a laughing moment with U.S. Representative Tom Cole (R-Okla.)

Two tribal college students were among 11 Native Americans in the inaugural AT&T Native American Political Leadership Program at George Washington University (GW) in Washington, DC, which was funded by the AT&T Foundation.

Starlynn Tourtillott (Menominee) from the College of Menominee Nation (Keshena, WI) and Marjeanna Burge (Comanche) from Haskell Indian Nations University (HINU, Lawrence, KS) completed the first-of-its-kind political leadership development program for Native American college students.

The students spent their spring 2006 semester in the nation’s capital while taking classes at GW, participating in hands-on internships, and interacting with political leaders and policy makers. Their visits to Capitol Hill focused on public policy issues affecting Native American communities.

“These students will return to their communities knowing what it takes to win elections, form coalitions, pass legislation and influence public opinion,” says U.S. Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.), who played an integral role in creating the program.

“They will be better informed about how politics works and more aware of how they can influence those processes to improve their tribal governments and their communities.”

The AT&T Foundation grant will provide enough funds for tuition, housing, books, and other expenses for 10 students a year for 3 years, for a total of 30 participants.

“We welcome the opportunity to support the AT&T Native American Political Leadership Program because it aligns perfectly with our commitment to leadership development for underserved populations,” says Laura Sanford, president of the AT&T Foundation. “This is the only program of its kind in the country.”

For more information, including applications for the next session, contact Sean Doles at (512) 495-7163, at, or visit

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