An ongoing grant from the John and Sophie Ottens Foundation is supporting the recruitment of more Native American students into Northern Arizona University health programs, and also preparing physical education majors to take jobs at reservation schools.

The foundation has awarded the College of Health and Human Services $16,600 for 2015-16, the third year of funding. The foundation supports the education and career goals of Native American students in becoming health professionals, teachers and social workers.

The grants, which are part of NAU’s Physical Education Teacher Education program, bring together faculty and reservation school personnel. The grant aims to prepare and graduate culturally diverse and competent teachers who effectively work with Native Americans.

Structured in three phases over five years, the program includes building relationships with school personnel and growing cultural competence of faculty and student-teacher candidates. The program also involves establishing in-service teacher training and student practicum experiences to support reservation school physical education programs and placing PETE seniors in reservation schools for their final semester-long internship.

The program involves the participation of several schools within the Navajo Reservation, initially in Tuba City and Chinle. While at Tuba City High School in spring and fall of 2015, student-teacher candidates discussed going to college at NAU with the high school classes while faculty provided contact information to offer guidance as the students explore or begin to attend the university.