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Navajo Nation to Maverick Nation

One student has found her second community on the CMU campus

Community is a big part of Jacey Tsosie’s life as a member of the Navajo Nation. When she left the reservation to attend CMU, she was excited to see what this new opportunity would bring including a second community. 

“My dad would often come up to Grand Junction for farm equipment auctions. During one visit we toured campus and I remember saying to him, ‘Wow, I really love this place!’ It was a nice a size and clean and everyone seemed to know each other,” said Tsosie.   

When she first came to the Grand Valley as a freshman, she found campus and the Cultural Inclusion Council to be a safe haven. She became an active member on campus including joining the Native American Student Association. She was the head coordinator until this semester and is still heavily involved.

As a firm believer in higher education, she said she refuses to take this journey for granted.

“It’s a privilege to be here and it’s important. I know a lot of people back home who are bright enough to go to college and would be grateful to be in classes only their circumstances didn’t allow them to leave,” she said.

While her experience has been worth it, being a student and single mother to a 4-year-old hasn’t always been easy.

“There are days where I’m just like why do I have these big dreams and should I be dreaming these big things?” said Tsosie. “I think, do I really have the audacity to dream big and to work in an investment firm or entertainment label? Will I make it?”

Tsosie said she is working on prioritizing herself, and says that’s not the way of life back home.

“It’s a constant battle internally for me. Back home you’re supposed to do everything to help improve your community,” she said. “It’s challenging to remind myself that both my family and myself are important… finding that balance is hard.” 

After graduation, Tsosie hopes to go to graduate school in South Korea to be at the epicenter of emerging technology. She said her son inspires her to see the world.

“I think I’ll return back home later on in life and in my career. For now, I want to see the world and I want my child to see the world. My goal is to familiarize him with all different cultures, while keeping ours close.”


Written by Kelsey Coleman