Yankton Sioux Scholar’s Big Plans for the Rez

18-year-old Brennan of the Yankton Sioux Tribe has nearly completed his first year at South Dakota State University. An electrical engineering major, Brennan is excelling in school after receiving a scholarship from PWNA’s American Indian Education Fund (AIEF) program. Brennan has struggled since birth with various health issues, but he feels it’s made him even more driven. After college, Brennan hopes to improve the quality of life for people on the reservation by bringing much-needed services to the area. 

Yankton Sioux Scholar’s Big Plans for the Rez

“I’ve always been interested in asking questions, finding out how things work and designing things.” 18-year-old Brennan of the Yankton Sioux Tribe has nearly completed his first year at South Dakota State University. An electrical engineering major, Brennan is excelling in school after receiving a scholarship from the American Indian Education Fund (AIEF) program of Partnership With Native Americans (PWNA) for the 2022-2023 academic year.

Brennan spent the summer before university working for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Pickstown, South Dakota. “I liked the environment there, and my goal is to work for them after college.” At the Corps, Brennan hopes to play a hand in the hydroelectricity operations that control dams on the Missouri River. “It’s important work for others as well as myself.”

Brennan also hopes to address several issues back home, like infrastructure and transportation resources. “With an engineering degree, I will be able to improve the quality of life of those living on the reservation. I want to plan projects that will bring much-needed services to the area, in hopes of giving the ability to spread ideas and culture outside of the reservation.”

Starting college, Brennan worried about relating to people who didn’t share his Native roots. Thankfully, he found support as an American Indian Student Council member. “It’s a great opportunity to network with people who are just like you and share cultural ideals. I don’t take it for granted.”

After graduating high school at the top of his class, Brennan is a first-generation college student. “This is a completely new experience for my family. Having the scholarship helped me navigate this a lot easier.” Brennan’s mom is a florist, and his dad repairs cell phones. He finds it important to not rely financially on his parents, because “they have enough on their plate.”

Brennan has struggled since birth with various health issues, but he feels it’s made him even more driven. “I have a strong determination to make something great out of the hand I was dealt and make an impact on the world. I grew up with the love of helping people, and I can help people with engineering.”

Brennan received a couple of local scholarships, but the support from AIEF stood out. “When I was selected for the scholarship, I felt relieved that I wouldn’t have to worry as much about the financial part of college. A big weight was lifted.” Thanks to the AIEF scholarship, Brennan also has fewer worries about student debt after graduating. He hopes that his three younger siblings follow in his footsteps and get a quality education.

Engineering is a rapidly growing field, but in the United States, Native Americans represent less than half of one percent of those bachelor’s degree recipients. It’s more important than ever to support Native students like Brennan and their goals to improve life on reservations. Donate to AIEF today.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*
*