Winds of Change - Fall 2017 - 22

WILL
CULVER

CHEROKEE / VIRGINIA-MARYLAND
REGIONAL COLLEGE OF VETERINARY
MEDICINE / VETERINARY MEDICINE
AND PUBLIC HEALTH

H

e was just
looking for a
part-time job
while he
finished up at
Mission Viejo
High School in
Orange County,
Calif. It was 2001, and Will Culver
had heard that a local veterinary
hospital needed kennel assistants.
He started out walking dogs,
cleaning kennels, and bathing
various kinds of animals. When he
turned 18, they promoted him to
veterinary assistant - and before
too long, to veterinary technician,
then shift supervisor. "I always
22 WINDS OF CHANGE * FALL 2017

loved animals, but that expanded
exponentially after I started
working at the hospital," he says. "I
was amazed to see all the different,
great things you can do with
animals and medicine."
After graduating from high
school in 2002, Culver, Cherokee,
worked mostly full time at one
animal hospital or another. He
also took classes at local Saddleback College, but struggled. "I
didn't have a lot of academic
direction or support, and I simply
didn't know about some of the
resources available," he observes.
Worse, the grades on his transcript
didn't reflect his aptitude for

STEM, especially science. "That
was pretty demotivating, and my
life direction felt pretty stagnant,"
he recalls.
Eventually, he realized that
something had to shift. Culver

CHEROKEE

The Cherokee people
comprise three federally
recognized tribes: the Cherokee
Nation and the United
Keetoowah Band of Cherokee
Indians are headquartered in
Tahlequah, Okla.; the Eastern
Band of Cherokees is based
in North Carolina.

met with a guidance counselor to
see what his community college
credits amounted to, and decided
to apply for a transfer to a
four-year college. "I knew that I
needed - and was ready for - a
drastic life change to get back on
track," he explains. With new
motivation, he graduated from
Saddleback with an associate
degree in biology in 2012. The
following fall, he enrolled at
Humboldt State University.
Humboldt, in Arcata, Calif.,
was about 700 miles away from
home, and it had taken almost a
decade to get there. But Culver
was just getting started. He
decided to major in wildlife with
a concentration in conservation
biology and applied vertebrate
ecology. It was an ambitious
agenda - but he wasn't alone
anymore. "The Indian Natural
Resources, Science, and Engineering Program at Humboldt
reached out to me even before I
stepped foot on campus," he says.
"I was almost overwhelmed by all
the academic, emotional, and
cultural support."
Part of that support was an
introduction to AISES. Culver
attended the AISES National
Conference in Anchorage, Alaska,
in 2012 and began to learn about
all kinds of opportunities he
didn't know existed. In 2013, he
was selected for a summer Native
American and Pacific Islander
Research Experience. When he
presented his research at the
AISES National Conference in
Denver later that year, he was
awarded first place for his oral
presentation and second place for
his poster presentation.
"Once I had a circle of
support, I completely went for
everything," Culver recalls. He
taught a review course in botany,
tutored fellow students in STEM
subjects, and guided freshmen
through orientation as a peer
counselor. In 2014, he was
awarded a scholarship for the
Summer Undergraduate Research
Experience program at the
University of South Dakota,
aises.org

COURTESY OF WILL CULVER

AISES PEOPLE


http://www.aises.org

Winds of Change - Fall 2017

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Winds of Change - Fall 2017

Contents
Winds of Change - Fall 2017 - Intro
Winds of Change - Fall 2017 - Cover1
Winds of Change - Fall 2017 - Cover2
Winds of Change - Fall 2017 - Contents
Winds of Change - Fall 2017 - 2
Winds of Change - Fall 2017 - 3
Winds of Change - Fall 2017 - 4
Winds of Change - Fall 2017 - 5
Winds of Change - Fall 2017 - 6
Winds of Change - Fall 2017 - 7
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Winds of Change - Fall 2017 - Cover3
Winds of Change - Fall 2017 - Cover4
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pohlyco/woc_college1718
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pohlyco/woc_2017fall
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pohlyco/woc_2017summer
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https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pohlyco/woc_2016college
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https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pohlyco/woc_2015college
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