Bush Foundation has announced its 2017 Bush Fellows—24 leaders chosen for their records of achievement and their extraordinary potential to make significant contributions in Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, and 23 Native nations that share the same geography. Among this year’s awardees is Melissa Boyd (Ojibwe) of Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College (FDLTCC).
Boyd is from the Mille Lacs Indian Reservation and completed her associate’s degree at FDLTCC. She is currently enrolled in the FDLTCC/Winona State University elementary education bachelor’s degree cohort. Boyd wants to help lead the movement to re-stabilize and renew the Ojibwe language in the homelands of her people, starting in the classrooms of the youngest learners. Her goal is to create Ojibwe schools recognized for both cultural and academic excellence. She will explore how to replicate in her community the ways Native Hawaiians have created nearly 20,000 proficient indigenous language speakers. To master her craft and advance her leadership skills, she will use her Bush Fellowship to finish her bachelor’s degree in elementary education, complete a certificate of contemporary Indigenous multilingualism at the University of Hawaii, and study behavior design through Stanford School of Medicine and the engagedIN, behavior design firm.
The Bush Fellowship provides people with up to $100,000 over 12 to 24 months to pursue learning experiences that help them develop leadership skills and attributes. The fellowship is distinctive in its flexibility, allowing each fellow to articulate what he or she needs to become a better leader. Fellows can use the funding to pursue advanced education, networking opportunities, and leadership resources, workshops and trainings.
“The 2017 Bush Fellows are extraordinary leaders who make significant contributions to their communities,” says Bush Foundation president Jennifer Ford Reedy. “The Bush Fellowship is both a recognition of their accomplishments, and a bet on their potential to make an even bigger impact on our region.”
A total of 639 people applied for the 2017 Bush Fellowship, making Boyd’s selection especially noteworthy. Boyd, and the 23 other fellows, were selected through a multi-stage process involving Bush Fellow alumni, Bush Foundation staff and established regional leaders. Applicants described their leadership vision and passion and how a Bush Fellowship would help them achieve their goals.