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2017 AKA Intern, Reisa Walker

AKA welcomes Reisa Walker as an intern on the Northern Cheyenne Reservation. Read on to learn more about Reisa’s interests and plans for future work.

"My name is Reisa Walker I am 20 years old and a young, mother of two. I am a member of the Northern Cheyenne Tribe in Montana. I was raised by my elderly grandmother Velma Walker, who lived and grew up in Busby MT. I did not have my parents to look after me as both my mother Audrey Walker and my father Jonny Belmarez suffered from Alcoholism. I attended the Northern Cheyenne tribal school in Busby. At the young age of 16, I was a sophomore in high school and I found myself pregnant with my first child and struggled as a teen parent. However, I wanted a better life not only for myself but for my child so I continued on in school and worked hard, allowing me to graduate a year earlier than my peers in May 2014. One of my teachers came across a summer internship sponsored by Chief Dull Knife College, where I could work and get paid for doing so. I applied and was selected it was shortly afterward when I decided to continue on in my education and took summer courses. Attending CDKC was one of the many choices that I will forever be thankful for, college has opened up my eyes and has given me so many great opportunities. I attended CDKC as a student and was also able to keep my intern position until I graduated in May of 2016. Since I was in the 7th grade I committed my summers to attend Indians into Medicine (INMED) an intensive 6-week summer program held at the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks ND. It was there that I took courses in Biology, Chemistry, Health, Physics, and Math and was exposed to the field of medicine. It was here that I developed my interest in nursing and knew that one day I wanted to become a nurse. Montana State University in Bozeman MT has the best nursing program in the state of Montana so I knew that Bozeman was where I wanted to earn a degree in nursing. Shortly after I graduated from CDKC I applied and was selected to attend Bridges, a summer internship sponsored by MSU. I worked in the Chemical and Biological Engineering department and was working alongside graduate students in MicroRNA detection and separation I not only got more medical experience but was also able to secure housing through the internship. I am currently a junior in the nursing program at MSU as well as serving as a research assistant to one of the nursing professors. I plan to graduate from MSU in the spring of 2019 as well as complete a lactation consultant certification. My ultimate goal is to specialize in OB as a nurse, working in pregnancy, labor, and delivery. I would like to help other teen mothers and serve as a support system when they need it. Through my fluency in the Cheyenne language, I plan to break the communication barriers and historical mistrust that the elders and tribe have with the Indian Health Service. I would like to use my education and career as a nurse to help my people. My plans as far as after graduation are unclear, I now am thinking of going on to gain a doctor of nurse practice. All I want is to give my children a better life than what I had, and to serve as a role model to them and other young people."

AKA is honored to have Reisa on the team. As a fluent Cheyenne language speaker, Reisa provides a critical link between culture and prevention.

Culture Matters. Prevention Works.

– AKA July 2017



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