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(Many Paths)
An Online Newsletter Celebrating Native America
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Stanford Senior Wins Truman Scholarship For Graduate Studies
by Kathleen Sullivan - Stanford Report

Alfred Delena, who was born and raised on the Pueblo of Zuni reservation in New Mexico, is one of 58 recipients of this year's award, which provides up to $30,000 for graduate study to students with "exceptional leadership potential" who are committed to careers in public service.

Alfred Delena ’15 won a Truman Scholarship
(photo courtesy of Alfred Delena).

The Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation recently named Alfred Delena, a Stanford senior majoring in human biology, as a 2015 Truman Scholar.

Delena was one of 58 college students – mostly college juniors – from 50 U.S. colleges and universities chosen to receive 2015 Truman scholarships. The awards provide up to $30,000 for graduate study to students with "exceptional leadership potential" who are committed to careers in public service, including government, the nonprofit or advocacy sectors, and education.

In addition to receiving financial support for graduate school, the Truman Scholars also receive priority admission and supplemental financial aid at some premium graduate institutions, as well as leadership training, career and graduate school counseling, and special internship opportunities within the federal government.

Delena, who is minoring in education, is writing an honors thesis that takes a qualitative, narrative approach to understanding undergraduate happiness and success.

He said he was deeply humbled and very honored to receive the award.

"This success is for the many people who have helped me, from my advisers to my mentors, from people at the Native American Cultural Center to Undergraduate Advising and Research, from my professors to my peers," he said. "Thank you for all the guidance, support, and assistance on this long and overwhelming journey."

Delena, who was born and raised on the Pueblo of Zuni reservation in New Mexico, dedicated the award to his parents, Vanessa and Larry Delena.

"Despite the constant struggle of growing up in poverty, I learned to appreciate how small things can make a big difference," he said.

"I am humbled by and grateful to my parents, who continually support and value the importance of my education, despite not having had such opportunities themselves. I am here because my parents never gave up on me. Through their love and sacrifice, I have gone to places I never dreamed possible."

In 2011, Delena received a Gates Millennium Scholarship to attend Stanford.

At Stanford, he serves as counselor at Camp Kesem at Stanford, a weeklong, sleep-away camp for boys and girls whose parents have been affected by cancer. Camp Kesem, which was initiated by Stanford students in 2000, now has 62 chapters at universities across the country.

While studying overseas with Stanford's Bing Overseas Studies Program in Cape Town, South Africa, Delena served as a volunteer at a high school located in a nearby township. He taught students the science of compassion, empathy and happiness.

Delena, who is passionate about improving student wellness at Stanford, served on the Emotional Well-Being Action Committee of the Associated Students of Stanford University. He was an intern for "I Thrive @ Stanford," a Vaden Health Center program that help students create a campus culture of well-being. He designed and taught a course to incoming freshmen, Your Stanford Experience: Understanding the Science of Happiness and Discovering Opportunities at Stanford.

Delena said he is dedicated to improving the educational and health outcomes for Native people, and is committed to helping create a fundamental paradigm change in Indian country, starting with his community and spreading outward.

In the future, Delena hopes to make a difference by working with schools and communities to make young people happier, healthier and more resilient.

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