Ariz. - Seven Hopi High School students studied at Harvard Medical
School this summer as part of the unique Hopi-Harvard summer program.
The seven Hopi High students attending were Lindsey Yoyokie, Joelle
Mansfield, Wendy Koinva, Robyn Kayquaptewa, Amber Lomayaktewa, Charnell
Hamilton and Truman Navakuku.
seven studied how alcohol and drug addictions impact the brain and
the impacts this has on their communities.
Hopi-Harvard program started 10 years ago. Former Governing Board
member Wallace Youvella Sr. came up with the idea with the help
of Superintendent Paul Reynolds, Principal Glenn Gilman, former
Principal David Herbert and former teachers Thomas Mentzer and Dave
David Potter, a Harvard neurobiologist, made the program possible
by pushing it and by getting funding from the National Institute
of Health, Science Education Partnership Award (SEPA).
High was the first high school to join the program, but other Native
high schools from Montana, Hawaii and Massachusetts later joined
Potter said when the program started that the goal was to get Native
American students into Harvard Medical School because only 20 percent
attending the medical school are people of color.
Adams, advisor of the Hopi-Harvard program at Hopi High, said the
students sat in on lectures, studied cases and had to give a presentation
at the end of the three-week course.
Potter taught the course along with Dr. Edward Furschpan.
a senior, said it was illuminating learning about the impacts that
drugs and alcohol have on the brain. She said the knowledge she
gained makes it less likely that she would do drugs or alcohol.
has a negative impact on your life. No good can come from it,"
also appreciated learning about college life and seeing what it
was like to be on her own. She said it was different waking up early
because of the time difference and found that the students had to
get used to the humidity.
students had to have a 3.0 grade point average, show an interest
in medical science, write an essay and get three letters of recommendation
in order to be accepted into the program.
who also chairs the science department at Hopi High, said the students
came to understand addictions physically and mentally as well as
learning about the impacts that drugs have on a community.
said the students also benefitted by learning about college life
think they realized the importance of attending classes at Harvard
Medical College. They know it's a real privilege," she said.
"It's not a Harvard class, but it has Harvard content."
said she thought taking a class at Harvard was special, but the
Harvard instructors told her it was like any other university.
still thought it was unique," she said.
said each of the student's final presentations was outstanding.
students showed what they learned and how it impacted their community,"
she said. "They gave a combined presentation, but each played
a part. They will also give the presentations here at school and
in their communities."
said the most challenging part for the students has always been
the public speaking. She said they also needed to learn time management
in terms of knowing when to buckle down to get to work.
said the program was improved in three ways this year. First, the
lectures were tailored more toward high school level. Second, all
four Native schools attended at the same time. Third, Rachael Povatah,
a substance abuse prevention worker on Hopi, attended to talk to
the students about community issues impacted by drugs and alcohol.
said she appreciated hearing Povatah's stories about addicting drugs
and how she wants to help the community.
story touched home. It made me think about how the reservation is
supposed to be dry, but it's the opposite," she said.
said the Harvard Medical College experience prepared the students
for college life because it taught them life skills.
year the students who attend this Harvard program leave with a higher
confidence level," she said. "They also form new friendships
with people from other communities. They learn from exploring other
parts of the country. It gives them a better perspective of life
off the reservation."
said the program doesn't need any improvement, although she would
like to be given more time to get applications out. This past year
and in the past they didn't know until late in the year whether
the program was funded so they didn't give out applications until
late in the school year and with little time to make the choices.
They know they have funding for next summer so the applications
will go out earlier this year.
said the program would be improved if more Hopi High students could
students have the opportunity they should take advantage of it,"
she said. "There is so much to learn and it's really fun."
plans to major in biomedical engineering at Arizona State University.
students had some time for sightseeing as they went to Six Flags,
whale watching, a New England aquarium, a Red Sox game and several
said she enjoyed being in Boston and learning about the historical
sites as well as meeting new people.