Red Lake Nation College student Salena Beasley is four for four: 4 courses, 4.0 grade-point average, 4 scholarships – all in her first 4 months of college!
“If I’m going to do it, I’m going to do it right!” Salena Beasley, 40, decided emphatically as she signed up for her first four college classes at Red Lake Nation College. Although Beasley is the sole provider of her three children and has a demanding 40-hour job as an Administrative Officer at Red Lake Chemical Health Programs, she is earning a 4.0 GPA and has already been awarded four scholarships.
If it were technically possible, her GPA would be even higher than a 4.0, as her overall grades, averaged, is 103.07%. In MUSC 1100 (Anishinaabe Music and Dance), her current grade is 106.67. In MATH 1100 (Math Reasoning), she has earned a 100.39%. In ENGL 1100, her extra-credit work put her over top, to 104.41%. And in ANISH 1100 (Introduction to Anishinaabe Studies), her grade is 101.11%. Wow.
All her hard work is paying off, literally, in scholarship money. In four short months since she began studies at Red Lake Nation College, she has been awarded a total of $5,756.00, broken down as follows:
Red Lake Scholarship awarded $1800.00 on March 19, 2019;
American Indian College Fund/Tribal College and University Fund awarded $ 1,100.00 on March 29, 2019;
Minnesota Indian Scholarship Program awarded $2,000.00 on April 12, 2019;
Minnesota State awarded $856.00 on Apr 19, 2019.
Who IS this superstar student, employee, mother, and community member?
Salena graduated from Red Lake High School as Valedictorian in 1996. After high school she did not have the courage or financial support to enroll in college. She doubted herself. College is a big commitment, and she felt that college required more than she was capable of. She always felt that “now” was not the right time to start; everything else seemed to get in the way. She successfully talked herself out of it for 20 years.
She finally decided to enroll in college for personal as well as professional reasons. She wants to be a role model to her children, to show them that college is not as intimidating as it appears from the outside. She wants to share with her children and fellow students her four keys to success: Sacrifice, communication, organization, and discipline. She sacrifices going out with friends and taking trips. She communicates with her professors on a regular basis. She organizes her schedule to assure she has time to complete assignments by their deadlines.
Professionally, she plans to use her education to improve the skills she already has, especially her writing skills, so she can be an even greater asset to her employer and the communities it serves. She has been working at Red Lake Chemical Health Programs since 2002, and, in her current position as Administrative Officer, she writes a lot of grants. Grant-writing is something that she taught herself by reading grants over the years, then applying the skills she learned from previous applications. She writes substance use disorder grants, grants for State and Federal funding agencies, for Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, and for Department of Human Services. She even partnered with Indian Health Services on a Health Resources and Services Administration grant. Improving her persuasive and research writing skills will help in all manners of grant writing, many of which require intensive data to make a case for eligibility and need. Learning the skills necessary to write successful grants is beneficial to the whole community.
After graduating from RLNC, Salena plans to transfer to Bemidji State University, where she will major in either Business Administration, or Social Work, with a minor in Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counseling. Social work is her passion because she loves helping people. To her, “It’s the best feeling ever to see someone going through their recovery journey”, and that someone thanking her months later “still gives [her] goose bumps.” Business administration will be helpful in her work of developing and implementing policy and budgets, and in submitting grant applications and reports.
Salena has every right to be optimistic about her future: “The possibilities are endless. And I’m going to figure it out.”