One of Haskell Indian Junior College's new graduates will work with Sen. Nancy Kassebaum, R-Kan., as an intern this summer in Washington.
Shawn Braun, outgoing student senate president, who received one of two presidential scholarships at Haskell's commencement ceremony Friday, will work with the Senate Select Committee on Indian Affairs, a group on which Kassebaum serves.
The committee addresses a broad range of issues that affect Native Americans. Braun said he applied for the internship when he was in the nation's capital in March testifying before Congress about Haskell Indian Junior College's budget.
Some issues Braun would like to see addressed by the committee include civil rights for Native Americans, the importance of tribal sovereignty, the environment and Indian education.
Braun's internship is scheduled to begin July 6 and will last at least through July and possibly through August. He also will be working under Haskell's natural resources program this summer and will be stationed at a forest experiment station in Asheville, N.C., from June 1 to July 3.
A Cherokee from Tahlequah, Okla., Braun said he was inspired by the keynote speech the chief of his tribe offered at commencement. Wilma Mankiller, principal chief of the Cherokee Nation, urged the graduates to fight every day for their rights.
He thinks Haskell's graduating class has the ability to do that.
"I am very happy to be affiliated with this class," Braun said, noting that the students were a close-knit group. "The potential for success really enforces my belief that Indian people can make a difference."
Braun, who was named outstanding student of the year by the American Indian Higher Education Consortium, plans to continue his education either at Kansas University or Northeastern State University in Oklahoma in business.