Sky Harper turns into Drexel’s second Truman Scholar, first ever Triple Crown

President John Fry stands with Sky Harper on the day Harper was notified he was a Truman Scholar.

After Sky Harper, Chemistry ’24 was interviewed for the Harry S. Truman Fellowship, a two-word query caught with him.

Why Drexel?

“I assumed they requested as a result of the opposite Arizona finalists went to varsity in Arizona,” mentioned Harper, who grew up on the Navajo reservation in Ram Pasture, Arizona, earlier than coming to Drexel in Philadelphia in 2019. in the meantime, I used to be on the opposite facet of the nation.Maybe their take was, why would you select Drexel, a faculty that nobody in Arizona is aware of a lot about?

To reply, Harper appeared again to her freshman 12 months of highschool when she competed within the Worldwide Science and Engineering Honest amongst greater than 2,000 college students from greater than 70 international locations. Throughout the particular awards ceremony, they confirmed a video about Drexel College and awarded eight full scholarship college students to Drexel. Harper thought she heard “Sky Harbor,” the title of the close by Phoenix airport, till she noticed her title on the display.

“I knew proper then that I used to be going to Drexel,” Harper mentioned. “Based mostly on my analysis poster and first impressions alone, they’d primarily mentioned they’d totally help me in my school journey. I’ve been in a position to make the most of so lots of the assets right here, and have advised my interview crew that if I might return, I might nonetheless select Drexel due to what I’ve been in a position to accomplish right here in each STEM analysis and dealing with DEI Native college students Individuals on campus. That is why I took an opportunity and determined to go to high school throughout the nation. That is why I selected Drexel.”

Harper simply added one other uncommon accomplishment to his checklist of Drexel hits. He was named one of many 2023 Truman Students, a extremely aggressive nationwide scholarship awarded to roughly 50 college students nationwide that awards them $30,000 for 3 years of graduate research resulting in a profession in public service.

Harper is the second Drexel scholar to obtain the Truman Scholarship, some of the prestigious within the nation. She was additionally a 2022 together with STEM college students pursuing research-oriented careers and a 2022 Udall Basis Scholar together with college students engaged in management and public service in Native American nations or the setting.

What does changing into a Truman Scholar imply to you?

I am fairly shocked and in disbelief, however general I am actually joyful and excited to see the place the long run takes me. I’m a primary era scholar and have 5 youthful brothers. I am considering, if I can do it, you guys are greater than succesful. One of many fundamental motivations I’ve is that I pave the way in which for my youthful brothers to increased training; let me do my greatest and present them that when you really need one thing or when you actually care about one thing, the probabilities are limitless.

Final 12 months, after making use of for and receiving each the Goldwater and Udall Scholarships, my advisor talked about that there’s something generally known as the “Triple Crown,” if you find yourself awarded the three particular scholarships. This has been a purpose of mine ever since and after receiving the Truman Fellowship, my advisor mentioned that I used to be the primary ever Triple Crown at Drexel and that I used to be the one Triple Crown scholar he had ever met. It was an ideal achievement for me, as a result of the scholarships I utilized for will not be essentially all in the identical discipline. I needed to actually reveal that what I need to do intertwines the missions of every fellowship. Goldwater is for STEM analysis whereas Udall’s may be very targeted on points in Native American communities, and my class was Native American healthcare, and Truman’s may be very targeted on public service, so my query was considerably untraditional. I’ve performed my greatest to speak that I need to make a profession doing analysis whereas additionally serving Native American well being care, which might be thought of a public service as a result of I’ll search to assist alleviate these well being disparities in useful resource restricted communities and on the reserve by analysis.

What prompted you to use for the Harry S. Truman Scholarship?

After I was scholarships to use for and what I need to do after commencement, I used to be considering of residence. We have now no working water or electrical energy; the closest clinic is 45 minutes away and there are such a lot of totally different well being disparities on the reserving. I assumed it does not seem like there’s going to be an enormous change in healthcare on bookings within the subsequent few years, and I’ve my grandparents who’re getting older, and I actually need to be part of that sort of change, to enhance these circumstances and alleviate these disparities. It is recognized that there are a number of disparities in reserving, however relating to supporting or allocating funds to deal with them, folks at all times say there’s not sufficient analysis, there’s not sufficient justification why we must always allocate this cash. I’ve realized how basic analysis might be, and I need to generate that information that claims, “For this reason we have to handle these disparities this fashion.” I thought of my training and analysis and the way I would mix them to deal with these points.

What sort of experiences have helped you get thus far?

I need to thank my mentors, counselors and fogeys for serving to me get right here. Particularly my mom and father for at all times supporting and prioritizing me and my siblings training and all of the folks [Undergraduate Research and Enrichment] UREP for at all times supporting me in any manner doable. At Drexel, one program that helped me take into consideration how I need to form my future, particularly in my early years, was the Aspire Students program by UREP. I used to be a part of a 12 months cohort in my sophomore 12 months and it was all about exploring my choices as a scholar. It was a protracted reflection on what I need to do sooner or later and how you can higher outline my objectives. After that program and in each scholarship software I wrote, I discovered readability and extra route in my future and life after Drexel. Trying again on the Goldwater and Udall fellowships, Goldwater had much less steerage and Udall was extra particular, however I went into element on this query saying, “That is precisely what I need to do, and that is the trail I will take to get there .

What do you hope to realize throughout the remainder of your school profession?

I’ve few objectives left. I need to apply for the NIH Oxford/Cambridge Fellowship and enter a prestigious MD/PhD program and full UREP’s SuperNova program. I additionally began a scholar group at Drexel known as Drexel Indigenous College students of the Americas (DISA) and we’re a robust group now, however I need to solidify it earlier than I graduate in order that even after I depart, it can nonetheless be right here and proceed to serve indigenous college students on campus.

What is going to graduate college be like for you?

I need to do an MD/PhD twin diploma program, the place you do two years of medical college, then 4 years of PhD, and end once more with two years of medical college. It has been eight extra years, however for me I hold considering, ‘What else am I going to do for the remainder of my life however work? I can put it off for one more eight years.’ I’ve had conversations with the administrators of admissions at Johns Hopkins, however I am going to even be making use of to the Mayo Clinic and to Drexel.

One other scholarship I’m is the NIH Oxford-Cambridge program. I might apply to common MD/PhD packages, and when accepted to fellowship and graduate colleges, I might go to medical college the place I used to be accepted, however then full the doctoral portion at Oxford or Cambridge, an accelerated doctoral training and customized program for excellent science college students engaged in biomedical analysis careers. It is a very aggressive program, however I simply hope that every of those scholarships I have been awarded will strengthen my software and make me stand out once more.

What’s your profession finish purpose?

After graduate college I need to get some expertise at NIH as a result of they’ve this analysis facility known as CBPR, or community-based participatory analysis. This construction takes account of all constituents and ensures that everybody’s wants are met and that researchers and group members are on an equal footing.

NIH has one other workplace known as Native American Analysis Facilities for Well being (NARCH) that I truly wrote about increasing in my software. In my view, it is not working to the most effective of its skill, so I need to achieve expertise at NIH and attempt to enhance it from inside. After having that have, I need to return to my reserve and begin a analysis heart that focuses on these well being disparities and do analysis in my group, with my group, at each single stage. I hope to collaborate and have interaction different Indigenous students and researchers and cleared the path in constructing and ultimately spreading this innovation to different under-resourced communities dealing with myriad inequalities on account of historic trauma.

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