2016 Scholarship Recipients

Johnny Buck, Christopher Oden-Orr, MacKenzie Hurlburt

Announcing the 2016 recipients of the JoAnn Jeter Memorial Diversity Scholarship

In remembrance of JoAnn Jeter, Bonneville Power Administration’s dedicated Diversity Program Manager who died in 2012, the Jeter Family established this scholarship fund.  The scholarship keeps alive the essence of Jo’s work – to support and encourage students who may face unique challenges to higher education.  Perhaps they are the first in their family to attend college, have limited family financial support and/or cultural/ethnic background.  The JoAnn Jeter Memorial Diversity Scholarship is administered by the Associates Foundation and as a 501(c)3 organization, the scholarship fund is an ongoing avenue for charitable donations.  Donations can be made directly at the Pacific Northwest Federal Credit Union, account #131978 and the Jeter Family matches private donations annually up to $500.  A point of contact for the scholarship is Karen Graves Pyrch (503-230-3194).

The independent panel of area educators evaluated 5 applications this year.  JoAnn Jeter’s scholarship calls for the minimum distribution of one $1,000 scholarship, or alternatively, two awards of $500 each.  However, the Jeter Family has extended again its generosity to three students.  Below are the very deserving students receiving scholarship support for the 2016-2017 school year:

$1,000 JoAnn Jeter Memorial Diversity Scholarship – Johnny Buck

$700 JoAnn Jeter Memorial Diversity Scholarship – Christopher Oden-Orr

$700 JoAnn Jeter Memorial Diversity Scholarship – MacKenzie Hurlburt

Johnny Buck


Thank you for believing in me and investing in my higher education goals.  I am proud to be a recipient of the JoAnn Jeter Memorial Diversity Scholarship and am grateful for all the donors and supporters to make this financial support possible.  I am committed to carry forward her values and vision for education, academic excellence and community leadership.  Kwthlanute (Thank you)

I am a proud father of a beautiful and intelligent daughter, Tatiwyat Buck.  I am from the Wanapum (River People) Community, located next to Priest Rapids Dam on the mid-Columbia River and also an enrolled member of the Yakama Nation in Washington State.  Archaeological evidence dates our history back 14,000+ years, or 700 generations.  We are deeply rooted in our homelands and our spiritual, emotional and physical lives are intimately intertwined with our environment.

The foundation of my life and leadership is with my Ichiskeen language.  Our way of life, culture and identity are encoded in our language - the way we communicate, relate to each other and our world.  When our language is lost, we are lost as a culture and a people.  I was raised with my indigenous language, and my community only has 5 elders left as fluent speakers.  I created our language program to connect elders to our youth to keep our endangered language alive and to ensure our way of life carries forward.  I am also trained as an archaeologist protecting and preserving our traditional cultural properties including our ancestral cemeteries, sacred sites and artifacts, the repatriation (return) of sacred remains and protecting our traditional food gathering areas.

For many years, I thought my academic goals were out of reach with my responsibilities to address my daughter’s health and wellness and the many day-to-day needs of my tight-knit community.  In order for me to beat the odds as a Native American man to achieve my academic goals, I knew I would need to make some bold moves that my immediate family would not immediately understand or value the long-term benefits for our community.  My mentor, Patricia Whitefoot, is an amazing trailblazing leader who models the values of being deeply rooted in her culture and home community in the Yakama Nation.  In addition to her local leadership roles, she leads on regional and national levels for educational access and excellence for Native communities.  I turn to Patricia for guidance through the challenges of navigating pursuing higher education and having a long-term vision for my career and community leadership. 

As a first generation college student, I am passionate to lead and model to my community and Native communities across the country, that higher education is a powerful resource in the health and wellness for our communities.  I chose to complete my undergraduate degree at Northwest Indian College because I am able to blend the best of both worlds of my traditional ecological knowledge and the technical components and practical skills of modern science as the foundation for policies and practices that best support the protection of our environment and precious natural resources. 

As a Native scientist, engineer and attorney, I will be well equipped to preserve and protect our Treaty Rights for our children and generations yet unborn.  I believe our indigenous traditional ecological knowledge holds the keys to addressing the impacts of climate change and restoring our environment.  As a Native leader, scientist, environmental engineer and attorney, I can connect my traditional ecological knowledge with the technical expertise as a scientist and engineer and better support the restoration of our environment.

My long-term educational goal is to obtain my PhD in Environmental Engineering and JD in Environmental Law from the University of Washington.  My long-term career goal is to strengthen communities’ resilience to climate change through scientific research and engineering design integrated with Indigenous traditional ecological knowledge.

As a Native American scientist, engineer, researcher and attorney, I will be able to make decisions that best support the future of all of our communities and our world.  I chose these diverse disciplines to be able to comprehensively address our planet’s unique needs in the coming decades and for our future generations.  As a scientist, I will be able to connect my traditional ecological knowledge with the technical expertise of Western science in the best interest of how we manage our cultural and natural resources.  As an engineer, I will have the knowledge to help us build our communities in a sustainable way and also protect, preserve and enhance our natural resources.  As an attorney, I will be able to advocate for policies that support the wellbeing of our environment and communities.  As a leader, I will combine all these areas of expertise to develop and sustain strategic partnerships with diverse communities and stakeholders to move us to a more sustainable future. 

For my undergraduate research, I am developing an Indigenous phenology observation network to help strengthen communities’ resilience to climate change and natural disasters.  An indigenous phenology observation network would also support the revitalization of native languages, traditional ecological knowledge and traditional phonological knowledge by strengthening relationships indigenous communities have with the natural world. 

For my graduate and doctoral research, I will focus on environmental engineering design to protecting, preserving and enhance water resources.  With engineering design I can integrate traditional ecological knowledge and cultural values to develop sustainable infrastructures and energy for our communities.

Scientific research is at the heart of finding solutions to climate change.  Native American communities, women, communities of color, farmers and farm workers are the most impacted by hydroelectric dams, nuclear power, coal, natural gas and climate change.  With my enhanced capacity as an Indigenous Scientific Researcher and Environmental Engineer, I will be able to offer unique perspectives to our Nation as a whole and our global community.  These perspectives are founded on traditional ecological knowledge and cultural values that have sustained Native communities since time immemorial.

Over the past ten years, I have worked to support my family and my daughter and have not had the funding to uproot my family to be in a full-time supportive learning environment.  I have successfully relocated my family to the Lummi Nation, achieved academic success on the main Northwest Indian College campus, and am on track with all my coursework for my Bachelors of Science in Native Environmental Science with my Academic Advisor Dr. Brian Compton.  This will prepare me for my PhD in Civil and Environmental Engineering and JD in Environmental Law.  I will ultimately return home to serve my people in my Wanapum community, and serve all of our Tribal communities in the US.

My community leadership grows from my passion to support our youth.  In 2012, I was asked by my mentor and President of the National Indian Education Association, Patricia Whitefoot, to Chair the team of leaders of the Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians (ATNI) Youth Committee.  A main focus of the ATNI Youth Committee is to better connect youth focused programs and organizations throughout the Northwest and to build a youth leadership pipeline to increase youth engagement in policy making for community development.   We also provide mentorship and support for students’ higher education goals.  

The continued support of the JoAnn Jeter Memorial Scholarship provides the resources I need to continue my path towards academic excellence and grow my community leadership, while enhancing my capacity to take care of my family needs and raise our next generation of leaders.  I rely solely on scholarship resources and financial aid and part-time work to support my family.  I consider myself a good candidate for this scholarship because I am confident that I will be able to invest resources wisely to achieve my goals for my education.

I know how powerful my example is for my daughter, my nieces and nephews, and all the Native youth I mentor and serve as a role model for.  I am grateful for all the challenges I have overcome because they have helped me grow as a person and a leader, and ultimately empowered me with more skills to achieve my goals.  

Thank you for believing in me and investing in my higher education goals.

Christopher Oden-Orr


Dear Associates Foundation Scholarship Committee,

Thank you for awarding me the JoAnn Jeter Memorial Scholarship. It prides me to know you felt I was the most qualified applicant. My mother knew JoAnne Jeter and thought she was a wonderful person and a bridge builder at BPA. I feel honored to be awarded this scholarship.

I am currently attending the University of Utah as a computer science major and have just completed my first week of college. Lucky my classes aren’t too hard, but I’m sure it will get more difficult. I will get a chance to take my first computer science class next semester. I’m excited to take my first college coding class and start learning a programing language. Once I get my degree I plan on going into the game industry as a coder. Your scholarship will make this goal less of a financial burden on me and my family. Thank you.


Christopher Oden-Orr

MacKenzie Hurlburt


Thank you for selecting me as a recipient of the JoAnn Jeter Memorial Diversity Scholarship.  I understand how hard the process of deciding the recipients of the scholarship must have been and I am grateful and humbled to have been selected. I am especially honored to receive a scholarship dedicated to such an amazing and strong woman like JoAnn Jeter.

Growing up I faced a lot of challenges and adversity and never dreamed that I would be heading off to college. My biological mother was bi-polar and a chronic prescription drug user and there was little to no stability in my life.  I struggled in school and had less than stellar grades, I immersed myself in video games to avoid reality. When I began Middle School, I was able to move in with my Dad and Step-Mom and attend Parkrose.  I was then fortunate to be adopted by my Step-Mom (now Mom!), finally finding the stability and calm that I had lacked for so long. Parkrose is the most diverse school in the state of Oregon, and I felt at home, coming into my own, finally understanding how important school was and enjoying my classes and teachers and getting good grades. I learned that people have varying backgrounds, sometimes tragic, and supporting each other was the key to moving forward.  I am incredibly grateful to my friends and family for their support, patience, and encouragement.    

I will be attending Central Oregon Community College to study Computer Science this fall and will pursue a degree in computer science and engineering and a minor in business. I hope to one day start my own software development company and provide opportunities to others.  I have applied to become a member of the student government and council at COCC and look forward to joining extra-curricular clubs, such as the gardening and ski clubs.  I plan to volunteer in the community, working with others to broaden my experiences and to give back to others.  I intend on finishing my two years of prerequisites at COCC and then continue on to Oregon State University to complete my bachelor's degree. I am excited to become a part of the community at COCC and look forward to all that college life has to offer.

Once again, thank you so much for believing in me and awarding me this scholarship.  


Kenzie Hurlburt