February Graduate Student of the Month

Felina Cordova

Flagstaff, AZ
AIGC Fellowship
University of Arizona
Public Health
GPA 3.843

Community Service:

  • 08/12-2016 ~ American Indian Indigenous Health Alliance, University of Arizona College of Public Health. Helped plan and execute the college’s first ever indigenous day of health. (President 2014-2015, Public Relations Coordinator 2013-2014, Vice President 2012-2013 and founding member)
  • 07/14’-Current ~ Chair, Native American Research and Training Center Student Advisory Action Board, University of Arizona, Family and Community Medicine, Tucson, AZ
  • 08/13’-2016 ~ Student Representative, Hopi Tribe Grants and Scholarship Board, Hopi Tribe, Kykotsmovi, AZ
  • 05/08’-08/08’ and 05/09’-07/09’ ~ Continue laboratory work but on a voluntary basis in Dr. Watson’s laboratory at Sarver Heart Center
  • 96’-09’ ~ Aid teacher with dissections in Inner-City 6th grade gifted science classroom in Tucson, Arizona.
  • 05/08’ ~ Assist in 6th/7th grade Science Camp at inner city school in Tucson, Arizona
  • 01/08’-12/08’ ~ Co-Chair of the Fall 2008 MPH Internship Conference Planning Committee Member of MPH Internship Conference Planning Committee, in charge of marketing with 1 other student.
  • 08/08’-12/08’ ~ Member of College of Public Health Search Committee, 1 of 2 students on the committee with professors. Helped screen applicants and make recommendations for an open professor position by reviewing applicant resumes and attending invited applicant lectures and interacting with applicants and committee members.
  • 01/02’-05/06’ ~ Aid doctors and nurses with patient care at University Medical Center Cancer Center in Tucson, AZ
  • 04’-05’ ~ Collection of medical supplies with Project Remedy in Tucson, AZ
    ~ Assist in translating Spanish for patients and health care providers at the Manos de Ayuda clinic in Puerto Penasco, Mexico
  • 05/04’-08/04’ ~ Perform patient vitals and urinalysis for doctors and translate Spanish with the Mobile Health Clinic at the University of Arizona in Tucson, AZ
    ~ Assisted in Native American Breast Cancer module; staging/grading, treatments and side effects with the Native American Cancer Research Partnership Tucson AZ
    ~ Literary research with grants and other projects associated with the American Indian Oncology Program in Tucson, AZ


Felina Cordova is originally from Flagstaff, Arizona and is a member of the Hopi Tribe. She will graduate with her Doctorate in Public Health with a minor in Family Studies and Human Development.  Her dissertation research with the Hopi Tribe is focused on stress and resiliency in Hopi family caregivers; those providing care to a family member that is elderly, disabled or has cancer or a chronic disease.

Felina received her bachelor’s degree in Microbiology and her Master’s Degree in Public Health, both from the University of Arizona. She is currently an American Indian Research Center’s for Health Doctoral Fellow, American Indian Education Fund Graduate Fellow, and American Indian Graduate Center Fellow. She has been a scholar for many other organizations while at the University of Arizona as well: Testasecca Memorial Scholar through the University of Arizona College of Medicine, Hopi Tribe scholar, Cobell scholar, Helen Roberti Scholar, UofA College of Public Health Maternal and Child Health Scholar, Zuckerman Family Foundation Scholar. Most recently she has received the UofA Centennial Achievement Award for Doctoral Student.  During her time at the University of Arizona she has also received the University of Arizona Peter Likins Excellence in Diversity and Inclusion award as President of the American Indian and Indigenous Health Alliance, the UofA Native American Student Affairs Outstanding Graduate Student Award for Academics, and the Reva T. Frankle Award from the College of Public Health.

She has established a scholarship at the UofA for Native students, coordinated a Native professionals seminar series, and leadership workshop for native students at the UA. In addition, she is a published author of textbook chapters and peer-reviewed journals and has presented her research internationally.

February Undergraduate Student of the Month

Bah Bigman

Big Mountain, AZ
Gates Millennium Program
Susquehanna University
GPA: 3

Community Service:

2016-2017 First Year College Student

Circle K International Club- Public Relations Officer @ Susquehanna University

TOYS FOR TOTS – on a Saturday at Lewisburg, Pennsylvania. Serviced 4 hours in the warehouse finding and packing gifts for children from ages 4-17.
Donated about 75 gifts all together. For 2 hours there was no electricity and heater.

PLANTING TREES WITH THE SELINSGROVE TOWNSHIP- Planted 30 trees in public parks and residential areas in Selinsgrove, Pennsylvania. Serviced 5 hours on a Saturday.

ALPACA FARM PETTING- Went to an animal farm Saturday mornings from 9-11 for two weekends petting and feeding livestock.

OUTREACH SPEAKING ENGAGEMENT- After a return from college during breaks, I return to my high school or boarding school to talk with the students about how college is so diverse and challenging. I outreach because students need to gain knowledge about how secondary education operates. I recently visited my boarding school and talked with the 8th graders about my high school and college experience.

2015-2016 Senior Year HS


ANNUAL VETERAN’S DINNER: During Veteran’s Day, the NHS club hosts a dinner for our local veterans providing homemade gifts, and hot food.

SUICIDE PREVENTION WALK: Each year as a HS student I volunteered with the Indian Health Service Department to raise awareness in my community about the depths of suicide and provided brochures.

WILD WESTERN WEDNESDAY: Initially for students to show-practice on their livestock for competitions. I serviced trash picking, guided parents, and sold baked goods.

BAZAAR BAKE SALES: Every year NHS participates in a Christmas Bazaar selling baked goods and sponsoring a cake walk for end of the gifts for seniors.


Yá’át’ééh shi ei Bah Ruth Bigman yinishye. Dinéadzaa nishli. Naakai Dine nishli, Taachinii bashishchiin, Taabaha dashicheii, Dzlini’nii dashinali. Shima ei Irene Benally wolye, doo Shizhe’e’ei James Bigman wolye. Shimasani doo Shicheii ei Ruth doo Joe Benally wolye. Dziil Nit’sa da’na’sha. Tso’stid sa’da shi na’hei. Neuroscience ei Susquehanna University ei iiniishta’. Hello my name is Bah Ruth Bigman. I am a young Navajo woman. My clans are The Mexican Clan, born for the Red Streak Running into Water. My maternal clan is Edge Water and my paternal clan is Manygoats Clan. My mother is Irene Benally and my father is James Bigman. My grandparents are Ruth and Joe Benally. I am from Big Mountain, Arizona. I am 18 years old. I study neuroscience at Susquehanna University in Selinsgrove, Pennsylvania.

My educational goals blossomed at a young age from helping my elders, especially my grandmother. I plan to attend medical school after I graduate with a bachelor in science. I am interested in medicine because today there are rarely any Native American physicians, I only know of two. Additionally, my grandmother herself is a Navajo medicine woman, in our own traditions she helps others who are in need of a spiritual blessing. Knowing only two Native American physicians, I hope to increase the numbers in the future. Being raised and growing up on the Navajo reservation, I only witnessed Navajo people working out of state, leaving their family’s behind for months. Our own Native people need a new career path for future generations and I will pave through the way. Practicing to become a physician will be a lifelong job and it will benefit our Native people with positive acts. Lastly, I am very honored I have received the Gates Millennium, it will make my aspirations become a reality. Ahee’hee(thank you)!

January Graduate Student of the Month

Crystal Tulley-Cordova

Crystal Tulley-Cordova

Blue Gap, AZ
University of Utah
GPA 3.882


Community Leadership:

  • American Indian Science and Engineering Society Board of Directors member (2014-2016)
  • American Indian Science and Engineering Society Senior National Student Representative (March  2015-November 2016)
  • American Indian Science and Engineering Society Junior National Student Representative (November 2014- March 2015)
  • American Indian Science and Engineering Society Region 3 Student Representative (March 2014-  March 2015)
  • President and mentor, Society of Native American Graduate Students (2013-2015)
  • Volunteer, Science Fridays at the U (2013-2014)
  • Science Fair Judge, Salt Lake City School District Science Fairs (2013-2015)
  • Mentor, American Indian Science and Engineering Society-Utah Chapter (2012-2013)
  • Vice President, University of New Mexico-Association of Water Professionals (2008-2009)
  • Secretary, University of New Mexico Geology Club (2005-2006)


Crystal Tulley-Cordova grew up on the Navajo Nation; the vast area where she grew up afforded her the opportunity to be an explorer and scientist. Her interest in science began in the fourth grade with a water filtration science project.  She has a Bachelor of Science in Earth and Planetary Sciences and Master of Water Resources with a concentration in Hydroscience from the University of New Mexico. Currently, she is a Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of Geology and Geophysics at the University of Utah. Her research interests include learning more about the interactions of precipitation, surface and ground waters.  For the past three years, she has led water research projects collaborating with the Navajo Tribal Utility Authority and Navajo Nation Water Management Branch examining precipitation at 40 sites, and ground water at 200 well sites. Last year Crystal was recognized for her research and awarded the Environmental Protection Agency’s STAR Fellowship.  Aside from being in school, Crystal has worked at the National Energy Technology Laboratory, CH2M HILL, former NM Senator Jeff Bingaham’s Office, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Bryant Middle School, Highland Park and Escalante Elementary Schools.  In 2014, she was awarded a Sequoyah Fellowship and third place for her research from the American Indian Science and Engineering Society, and an Environmental Science/Studies award for her research from the Society for the Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science.

January Undergraduate Student of the Month

Gavin Brucklacher

Gavin Brucklacher

Philip, SD
Pine Ridge – Oglala Sioux
Gates Millennium Program
Black Hills State University
Business Administration – Economics/Finance & Entrepreneurship
GPA 3.96

Community Service:

Northern Hills Committee Member for the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation
Committee Member for the National Wild Turkey Federation
Active member of National Mutual Benefit community service projects
President of Presidential Student Ambassadors at BHSU
Volunteer as a Cultural Ambassador for BHSU
Volunteer tutor in math for Spearfish High School students
American Citizenship Award
Prudential Spirit of Community Award


Born and raised in a town of 800 people, I have always enjoyed the “small town” life. Moving from Philip to Spearfish, I was given brand new opportunities to meet life long friends and watch my career objectives inch closer. The community that surrounds Black Hills State University is a one-of-a-kind, ranking as the #7 university for outdoor adventures and making another showing as one of the Top 200 colleges for Native Americans. Blessed with having a town and community that supports students at BHSU with scholarships and donations, one never has to feel like they are left out. Making the BHSU Dean’s List five semesters in a row, I am constantly being pushed to excel and make the most out of my undergrad stay in Spearfish. Being an avid hunter and fisherman, I have met several friends and neighbors that enjoy the sports as well, making the weekends well worth the wait. When I’m not in the wood shop or taking a ride through the Black Hills on my four wheeler, I’m working as a Network and Computer Programming Assistant or studying for my many finance and business classes. Volunteering my time as a Presidential Student Ambassador from 5-10 hours a week, I get to converse with BHSU alumni and donors as well as my professors and friends. With an anticipated graduation date of May 2018, I am contemplating the idea of graduate school or taxidermy school. Time will tell where I’ll be in just over a year, and I know i’ll be satisfied with the choices I’ve made.