Congratulations Elena Rodriguez-the New 2024 Ms. AIHEC | Sitting Bull College

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Congratulations Elena Rodriguez-the New 2024 Ms. AIHEC

Posted: Monday, 18 March 2024
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Congratulations Elena Rodriguez-the New 2024-2025 Ms. AIHEC

Congratulations to Sitting Bull College student Elena Rodriguez as the new 2024-2025 Ms. AIHEC. She is currently an undergraduate student in the Environmental Science bachelor degree program at SBC. The AIHEC Student Congress created the Mr., Ms., and Mx. AIHEC Competition to showcase the character, leadership, and academic achievements of three select students from the Tribal College community.This competition is set up to recognize outstanding tribal college students who will serve as ambassadors for 2024-2025. We are very proud of Elena and want to wish her a successful year! On her recent appointment as the 2024-2025 Ms. AIHEC, she says:

"Nawah! For those of you who may not know me, my name is Elena Rodriguez, and I am honored to hold the title of Ms. AIHEC for the 2024-2025 term! As a proud member of the Three Affiliated Tribes, I grew up on the Fort Berthold Reservation in New Town, ND, and currently reside on the Standing Rock Reservation while attending Sitting Bull College. I am on track to graduate with a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science this May! Reflecting on my life, I am still in disbelief at my new role. After everything I’ve been through, I never imagined I would carry such an influential title. My upbringing may not have been filled with luxury, but I was surrounded by love and attention. However, everything changed in fifth grade when drugs made their way into the only home I had ever known. My life changed from that point on. I spent many years bouncing between relatives' and friends’ houses (thank you). As a troubled teen, I had some guidance, but I wasn’t ready to listen. I was still dealing with the heartache of seeing my mother change into someone I no longer knew. Struggling to find my way, I dropped out of high school. It wasn’t until the birth of my second son that I realized I needed to do more. I needed to be more for my sons to thrive. This is when my higher education journey began, and my healing started. The struggles throughout my life pushed me to run for the title of Ms. AIHEC. In this role, I am committed to highlighting and supporting underprivileged youth, young parents, or parents in general, and those who’ve been disconnected from their culture and language. I aim to showcase Tribal Colleges and Universities' role in our communities. These institutions provide a curriculum tailored to those of us beginning our higher education; they offer care and support for students’ children and provide a safe space to learn our traditions and language. I extend my heartfelt congratulations to the new Mr. AIHEC, Tanner Veo (UTTC), and Mx. AIHEC, Bee Gauthier (RLNC)! Additionally, I want to thank the previous Ms. AIHEC, Sareya Taylor (IAIA), AIHEC, and the Woodland TCUs for making AIHEC 2024 a memorable event. May we all see our communities free from substance abuse, cultures and languages thriving, and our youth empowered to pursue their wildest dreams fearlessly. Please do not hesitate to reach out with any questions regarding Tribal Colleges & Universities, scholarships, internships, or any concerns you may have. I will always make myself available to offer assistance and support! wetaatAsšteehuu’U!"