Bush Fellows Learning Logs

Floyd Patrick Jourdain
Fellowship term: 24 months

The drum, the heartbeat of Native nations, restored Floyd Jourdain as a young man 30 years ago when he sought sobriety. It carried him through his 10 years as tribal chair of the Red Lake Band of Chippewa. Now he wants to explore how the drum can teach and promote healing and unity throughout Indian Country. With his Bush Fellowship, he will complete his bachelor’s degree, focusing on emerging research that shows how drumming can address the challenges of addiction while strengthening cultural identity in Native communities.

Gene Burka Gelgelu
Fellowship term: 24 months

Gene Gelgelu envisions a Minnesota where African immigrants play a major role in the economy. He wants African immigrants to build wealth and sustainability as they become more deeply engaged in the region. An immigrant from Ethiopia, he understands the challenges of and opportunities for building full economic participation in a new country. Under his leadership, African Economic Development Solutions has incubated numerous culturally specific businesses and launched Little Africa, a creative placemaking effort in the heart of Saint Paul. With his Bush Fellowship, he will broaden his knowledge of regional economic policy, build a local and national network to lead more effectively and contribute to solving racial disparities in Minnesota.

Giovanni Veliz
Fellowship term: 24 months

Giovanni Veliz is the first immigrant police lieutenant in the Minneapolis Police Department (MPD) and the former executive director of the Police Activities League. He is keenly aware of the challenges police departments have in building relationships with youth and communities of color, and is focused on juvenile outreach. Now, with his Bush Fellowship, he will deepen the strategic skills he needs to design solutions for improving youth health, development and leadership, and for enhancing the cultural competency of MPD officers. He will enroll in executive education programs at the Harvard Kennedy School and other educational institutions.

Hamse Warfa
Fellowship term: 15 months

As one of Minnesota's civic leaders, Hamse Warfa is concerned about structural integration challenges new immigrants face, particularly immigrants in the Somali community. He bridges cultures through leadership and peacebuilding training, and wants to increase his ability to influence cross-cultural understanding. With his Bush Fellowship, he will develop a new platform that links more immigrants to mainstream systems on issues of education, health, economic empowerment and civic leadership while leading civic conversations that create more vibrant communities for all Minnesotans.

Heather Dawn Thompson
Fellowship term: 24 months

Heather Dawn Thompson wants to engage the private sector to assist the Great Plains Tribes in their efforts to build their strength and self-sufficiency. She is a national expert in Indian law and economic development who seeks greater expertise to respond to dwindling federal assistance and limited grant opportunities for Native nations. She believes that long-term self-sufficiency can come with growth in the financial proficiency needed to compete in a complicated private marketplace. She also believes strong leadership requires the wisdom that the Lakota language and values provide. She will use her Bush Fellowship to pursue corporate finance training, combining it with a focus on traditional Lakota values of leadership, language and self-sufficiency.

Hsajune Dyan
Fellowship term: 24 months

Hsajune Dyan often reminds himself and his students that a thousand miles begins with a single step. A Burmese refugee, he has embraced determination and persistency in his own life and work with Saint Paul Public Schools. He is a passionate advocate for English Language Learners, serving as a bridge between newcomers and the school system. He is equally passionate about the success of his small but growing Karen community in Minnesota. With his Bush Fellowship, he will strengthen his leadership and planning skills and enhance his network to better help immigrants and refugees become well-educated, prosperous members of their new community. He will pursue an Ed.D. in education leadership at Bethel University.

Hussein Farah
Fellowship term: 18 months

Hussein Farah wants his community to prosper by embracing technology to build financial stability. He believes that equitable access to information technology can drive a more inclusive and harmonious life for all Minnesotans, especially his fellow African immigrants. He seeks to be a forceful advocate for policies, resources and programs that ensure people of color participate in the high-tech sector. To grow into this role and to become a thought leader at the center of the digital ecosystem, he will expand his professional network, broaden his expertise in the field of information technology, pursue leadership training and study organizations with successful track records of attracting immigrant youth to the technology sector.

Irene K. Fernando
Fellowship term: 24 months

Irene Fernando believes deeply that new leadership is integral to organizational success. That’s why she and her two co-executive directors at Students Today Leaders Forever designed a model that requires each of them to transition out of leading the organization. Her willingness to plan herself out of a job is rooted in a mission to help cultivate a new generation of civic-minded leaders. She imagines a world where an organization’s leadership model is as important as its operating and financial models. Irene will use her Bush Fellowship to further her education in the areas of leadership theory, management structures and organizational design.

Jacquie R. Berglund
Fellowship term: 24 months

Since 2000, Jacquie Berglund has had one thing on her mind: Turning beer into food. That's the mission of FINNEGANS, the social enterprise she founded nearly 15 years ago and the first beer in the world to donate 100 percent of its profits back to the community. A social entrepreneur before you could Google "social entrepreneur" and get links to thousands of books, articles and podcasts dedicated to the concept, Jacquie will use her Fellowship to expand and develop her own social entrepreneurial leadership skills. She will also use her experience to build support for social entrepreneurs throughout the region

Jamal A. Adam
Fellowship term: 24 months

Jamal Adam has a unique understanding of the vital role community colleges can play in helping refugees, immigrants and first-generation students achieve success. Jamal grew up in Somalia and fled at age 13 to a refugee camp in Kenya to escape war. After seven years, he came to the United States with a dream of going to college. Jamal earned a degree at Minneapolis Technical and Community College, where he currently serves as a counselor and instructor. He will use his Fellowship to complete a Ph.D in educational policy and administration at the University of Minnesota. Combining his experience and education, he seeks to play a leadership role in creating affordable and innovative postsecondary educational opportunities for all.

Jeffrey Dykstra
Fellowship term: 24 months

Jeff Dykstra believes that cross-sector collaboration can result in powerful solutions to persistently intractable problems. As co-founder and CEO of Partners in Food Solutions, a successful consortium of global food companies that works with local food companies across Africa to improve food security and economic development, he has learned firsthand how partnerships involving public, private and nonprofit entities can drive social impact. He wants to become a leader who can wisely counsel others in this arena and wants to reflect on and better understand the components of leadership and principles of partnership that drive cross-sector success. With his Bush Fellowship, he will research other successful examples of partnerships, deepen his own leadership abilities and develop the tools and skills to coach the next generation of impact-oriented leaders.

Jenn Faul
Fellowship term: 24 months

Jenn Faul wants to radically change how children learn about mental health. As a therapist and COO for the largest free-standing psychiatric and substance use hospital in her region, she recognizes that mental health is often a taboo topic. But she believes that early education in structured, supportive school settings can reduce stigma and dramatically alter how youth respond in times of struggle. To lead this large-scale community change, she seeks deeper knowledge of educational systems and greater insight into how to set and reform policy. With her Bush Fellowship, she will pursue an advanced degree in educational leadership.

Jennifer A. Waltman
Fellowship term: 24 months

In 2009, Marge Anderson, then the chief executive of the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe, tapped Jennifer Waltman to join her cabinet as commissioner of community development. Jennifer wasn't sure she was the right fit for the job, but Anderson, who passed away last year, challenged her to step out of her comfort zone and step up as a leader. The experience inspired her to not only serve the Tribe, but to also go back to school to earn a degree in psychology and pursue a career as a therapist. Jennifer has seen first-hand how untreated trauma has contributed to mental health disparities among Native Americans. She will use her Fellowship to develop integrated mental health and medical services that aim to eliminate mental health stigma.

Jennifer Irene Almanza
Fellowship term: 24 months

Jennifer Almanza has spent the last 10 years understanding the scope of what a woman might encounter during birth, especially women of color. She researched the birthing experience of women living on Leech Lake Reservation, served as a preceptor and charge nurse in the Regions Hospital Birth Center, taught infant massage, and cross-trained in postpartum, newborn nursery and the newborn intensive care units. Now, with her Bush Fellowship, Jennifer intends to earn her doctorate of nursing practice in midwifery to increase the pool of culturally responsive providers to serve women of color in the metropolitan area. Her goal: more engaging care and better health outcomes for mothers and babies—at less cost.

Jessica L. Jackson
Fellowship term: 12 months

As Jessica Jackson sees it, hope is an essential, tangible life tool. But for many in the African-American community, particularly youth who have experienced tragedy, violence and disparity, hope has given way to hopelessness. Jessica wants to develop a premiere community-based program that increases hope, engagement and well-being among African-American youth across the region. She will use her Fellowship to pursue a master's certificate in psychology, examine cutting-edge research on the science of hope and character development, and engage a network of leading psychologists, researchers and authors to develop a model to measure hope, confidence and inspiration among African-Americans.

Joanna Barrett
Fellowship term: 24 months

Dr. Joanna Ramirez Barrett sees women entrepreneurs of color — the fastest growing group of entrepreneurs — as a solution to the racial wealth gap. From her work with the Metropolitan Economic Development Association (Meda), she knows that entrepreneurship among families of color increases income at significant rates. She wants to be at the forefront of creating a vibrant business ecosystem that supports women entrepreneurs of color. With the understanding that this work will take compelling leadership, she seeks to grow from successful program manager to strategic leader. She will immerse herself in leadership programs for women and study innovative social entrepreneurship models.

John Henry Glover
Fellowship term: 24 months

John Glover understands dichotomies. He is Indian and non-Indian, traditional Native and Americanized Norwegian Lutheran, academic and non-academic. Given those realities, he seeks to be a bridge and facilitator between the various constituencies he works with in the northern plains and prairies of South Dakota. With his Bush Fellowship, he will seek better understanding of the impact of diversity and inclusion, and improve his nonprofit management skills to enhance his work as professor and higher education leader at Black Hills State University and as CEO of Native Educational Endeavors.

John Patrick Davis
Fellowship term: 24 months

John Davis’s passion is rural. He imagines thriving rural communities that use the arts and creativity to solve local challenges, drive sustainable economic development and address obstacles to change. He seeks the tools, experiences and opportunities to broaden his scale of influence to be an authentic and compassionate thought leader for people in rural communities across the country. To amplify his voice for rural advocacy, he will partner with the Rural Policy Research Institute and regional colleagues to study effective rural strategies and to better understand the correlation of public policy and rural sustainability. 

Julie Ann Garreau
Fellowship term: 24 months

Julie Garreau has been the driving force behind the Cheyenne River Youth Project (CRYP), developing it from a fledgling experiment to one of the nation’s most successful Native youth development programs. After years of leading CRYP, she now wants to ensure its future success by mentoring emerging Lakota leaders who can succeed her. Julie will use her Bush Fellowship to study Lakota teachings and effective Western leadership models, leveraging both to foster the next generation of leaders.

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