Catherine Talakte, a Hopi from the village of Kykotsmovi and the Sparrow Hawk Clan, has accepted the position as NAU’s director of Native American Student Services, effective immediately.

“My vision is to strive for NAU to become a national model for the retention of Native American students,” said Talakte, who has served as interim director since May 2005.

Talakte’s goals include implementing a supplemental freshman and transfer student orientation for Native students, adding scholarship programs, growing fundraising activities to assist students and heightening the university’s visibility among tribes, communities and families.

Since 1987, Talakte has held various positions assisting Native students at NAU. She is a graduate of NAU, having earned a bachelor of science in psychology in 1987 and a master’s in education in 1993.

Talakte was one of three finalists interviewed for the position following a national search.

“It was a highly competitive pool of candidates, but the feedback from the university community consistently indicated that Ms. Talakte was the best fit for the role,” said Rick Brandel, dean of students. “She clearly emerged as the strongest candidate.