2018 Tillman Scholar
As a member of the Navajo Nation, Jonathan had no shortage of military role models growing up. With dignified members like the Navajo Code-Talkers in his community and a Marine veteran father, there was no hesitance by Jonathan to follow in their footsteps. Upon graduating from high school, Jonathan enlisted in the Marine Corps. The integral life lessons and circumstances he experienced in the Marines drove him to continue his education after his second deployment.
Upon being discharged from the Marines, Jonathan began pursuing a B.A. in International Affairs and B.S in Applied Indigenous Studies at Northern Arizona University. While attending NAU, Jonathan witnessed the choke-hold that PTSD had on fellow Veterans in his community. His aspirations shifted as he recognized that helping his people was now an innate component of his well-being. He began working with local nonprofits in Flagstaff to begin initiating care in the community while attaining knowledge applicable towards his prospective work.
Jonathan is currently working on his M.S. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling at Georgia State University and working to develop a more prominent presence of Indigenous issues in a time where there is a drastic under representation of Indigenous students in academia. Upon receiving his graduate’s degree, Jonathan’s goals center on developing initiatives and programs culturally tailored towards veterans on his reservation. As a liaison and representative, Jonathan desires to alleviate the current 2-4-hour commutes Navajo veterans face by developing an all-encompassing mental health trauma center directly on the Navajo Nation.