AKA welcomes Reisa Walker as an intern on the Northern Cheyenne Reservation. Read on to learn more about Reisa’s interests and plans for future work.
My name is Reisa Walker I am 20 years old and a young, mother of two. I am a member of the Northern Cheyenne Tribe in Montana. I was raised by my elderly grandmother Velma Walker, lived and grew up in Busby MT. I did not have my parents to look after me as both my mother Audrey Walker and my father Jonny Belmarez suffered from Alcoholism. I attended the Northern Cheyenne tribal school in Busby. At the young age of 16, I was a sophomore in high school and I found myself pregnant with my first child and struggled as a teen parent. However, I wanted a better life not only for myself but for my child so I continued on in school and worked hard, allowing me to graduate a year earlier than my peers in May 2014. One of my teachers came across a summer internship sponsored by Chief Dull Knife College, where I could work and get paid for doing so. I applied and was selected it was shortly afterward when I decided to continue on in my education and took summer courses. Attending CDKC was one of the many choices that I will forever be thankful for, college as opened up my eyes and has given me so many great opportunities. I attended CDKC as a student and was also able to keep my intern position until I graduated in May of 2016. Since I was in the 7th grade I committed my summers to attending Indians into Medicine (INMED) an intensive 6 week summer program held at the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks ND. It was there that I took courses in Biology, Chemistry, Health, Physics and Math and was exposed to the field of medicine. It was here that I developed my interest in nursing and knew that one day I wanted to become a nurse. Montana State University in Bozeman MT has the best nursing program in the state of Montana so I knew that Bozeman was where I wanted to earn a degree in nursing. Shortly after I graduated from CDKC I applied and was selected to attend Briddges, a summer internship sponsored by MSU. I worked in the Chemical and Biological Engineering department and was working alongside graduate students in MicroRNA detection and separation I not only got more medical experience but was also able to secure housing through the internship. I am currently a junior in the nursing program at MSU as well as serving as a research assistant to one of the nursing professors. I plan to graduate from MSU in the spring of 2019 as well as complete a lactation consultant certification. My ultimate goal is to specialize in OB as a nurse, working in pregnancy, labor and delivery. I would like to help other teen mothers and serve as a support system when they need it. Through my fluency in the Cheyenne language I plan to break the communication barriers and historical mistrust that the elders and tribe have with the Indian Health Service. I would like to use my education and career as a nurse to help my people. My plans as far as after graduation are unclear, I now am thinking of going on to gain a doctor of nurse practice. All I want is to give my children a better life than what I had, and to serve as a role model to them and other young people.
AKA is honored to have Reisa on the team. As a fluent Cheyenne language speaker, Reisa provides a critical link between culture and prevention.
Culture Matters. Prevention Works. – AKA July 2017