Native American scholar Cheryl Ellenwood is joining Washington State University to help expand the University’s tribal nation building leadership programs.

Ellenwood, who holds a PhD in public administration and management from the University of Arizona and a master’s degree in American Indian studies from UCLA, will be working with WSU’s Center for Native American Research and Collaboration (CNRC) and the Institute for Research and Education to Advance Community Health (IREACH). The nation building programs will be aimed at developing Native American students’ leadership skills and knowledge based on tribal principles and values. The goal is not only to help students succeed in their college and career pathways, but also to return and serve the economic, educational, and health needs of their communities.

A citizen of the Nez Perce Nation, Ellenwood grew up in Kamiah, Idaho on Nez Perce lands and is a graduate of the Na-ha-shnee summer camp, a program that gives Native American high school students real-life WSU experience.

She brings expertise in organizational theory, indigenous- and minority-led organizations as well as community development. She also is an experienced mentor of Native American youth and is well-versed in community and organizational system factors that impact Native American college and career pathways.

Ellenwood will work with the Director of the CNRC, Zoe Higheagle Strong, and the Director of IREACH, Dr. Dedra Buchwald, M.D., to develop initiatives and courses that support the recruitment, college persistence, and graduation of Native American students. “Dr. Ellenwood’s experience engaging and working with communities position her to meaningfully consult and collaborate with tribal members and leaders, whose guidance informs all aspects of CNRC and IREACH’s work,” says Higheagle Strong. “Together, CNRC and IREACH are dedicated to ethical, community-based service and research that honor and respect the sovereign rights and tribal protocols of American Indian and Alaska Native peoples.”