Bush Fellows Learning Logs

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.

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.

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.

Karina Forrest Perkins
Fellowship term: 24 months

Karina Perkins sees an opportunity to improve addiction treatment services and systems, which currently reach just 9% of people who need care. With her Bush Fellowship, she will build the leadership skills necessary to champion a systemic change to treat addiction with a disease management approach. She will deepen her knowledge of substance abuse treatment models and innovations in disease management, increase her ability to transfer knowledge to practice and seek mentors in policymaking and health care reform. She will pursue advanced certification in substance use disorder treatment and trauma-informed care, as well as key certifications through Harvard University’s Online Leadership & Management Program.

Kashif Rafiq Saroya
Fellowship term: 24 months

Every year, Kashif Saroya uses a week of vacation from his position with Ecolab to organize and volunteer at the Muslim Youth of Minnesota’s summer camp, where he advises and mentors youth. With the help of a Bush Fellowship, he now will turn to finding his own advisors to advance his abilities to promote diversity, engagement and inclusion in the business sector. He plans to pursue an MBA to increase the knowledge and networks he needs to play an executive leadership role in the corporate sector.

Kevin Killer
Fellowship term: 24 months

As the youngest Native American ever elected to the South Dakota Legislature, and one of only two tribal members in the state’s House of Representatives, Kevin Killer is entering what must be his final term with his eye on the next generation. Who will succeed him, and how can he help build more leaders from Pine Ridge and other Native communities in his state? Kevin will use his Bush Fellowship to build the leadership skills he needs to inspire and amplify tribal voices in community decision-making and to provide Native communities with an asset-based approach to the future.

Kimberly M. Norton
Fellowship term: 20 months

State Representative Kim Norton introduced legislation and rallied support for the Destination Medical Center (DMC), an economic development project aimed at positioning Rochester as a premier location for health care. Kim wants to help lead Rochester through the dramatic changes ahead, making sure that DMC works for the entire community. Her Bush Fellowship will allow her to complete a master’s degree at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs and grow her transformational leadership skills through the Women in Power executive education program at Harvard Kennedy School.

Kristin DeArruda Wharton
Fellowship term: 24 months

Kristin DeArruda Wharton wants to redefine the rural health care model. She seeks to combine expanded opportunities for nurse practitioners to provide whole-person care with a focus on social and community factors that influence well-being. She believes this holistic model could deliver solutions to rural areas that struggle to maintain strong local health care systems. With her Bush Fellowship, she will pursue education as an integrative nurse practitioner and study successful rural models that bridge the divide between health care and community sources of health and vitality. She also will expand her network of health, policy and community mentors to increase her reach and effectiveness as a rural health advocate.

Larry Gene Tucker
Fellowship term: 26 months

Larry Tucker devotes his professional career to helping people change the direction of their lives and, he says, “write a different story.” Despite childhood adversity and becoming a parent when he was just 17, Larry earned both his bachelor’s and post-graduate degrees, and then founded Kente Circle, a successful mental health organization serving the community with a special emphasis on the needs of African Americans. With his Bush Fellowship, he will acquire the advanced leadership and business skills he needs to train the next generation of culturally competent mental health professionals.

Larry McKenzie
Fellowship term: 24 months

Larry A. McKenzie has always understood his purpose: to make a difference in the lives of young men, particularly African Americans in urban settings. As a high school basketball coach, he has a long track record of developing top athletes who are also excellent students. Because he believes that coaches are powerful influences in helping young people become champions in the classroom, in their families and in their communities, he wants to engage them in closing the achievement gap and reducing crime. To become a leader who can inspire and influence this next generation of coaches, he needs to develop new skills to amplify his voice and vision. With his Bush Fellowship, he will complete a master's in athletic leadership and development and seek executive leadership training.

Latasha D. Gandy
Fellowship term: 24 months

When Latasha Gandy was struggling to help her third-grade daughter with reading, she came to an important realization: not only was the system failing her child, but it had also failed her years before. Despite graduating with a 4.2 GPA from high school, Latasha still had to take remedial courses in college. This realization ignited her passion for educational equity and led to a leadership role with Students for Education Reform. She will pursue a JD and executive leadership training with her Bush Fellowship, expanding her network and skills to tackle the opportunity gap in education.

Laura J. Connelly
Fellowship term: 24 months

As a child, Laura Connelly learned the importance of a compassionate community—the value of people who feed you when you are hungry, who give you shelter when you are fleeing violence, who support you without judgment. Her work over the past 12 years in the field of domestic violence has reinforced this need for community, but also for long-term economic security for women who leave violent situations. With her Bush Fellowship, Laura will strengthen her cross-sector leadership skills to be a more effective agent of change for rural families seeking freedom from domestic violence.

Laura Zabel
Fellowship term: 24 months

For Laura Zabel, creativity is a natural resource. As executive director of Springboard for the Arts, she has helped ensure the region maintains an abundance of creativity by connecting artists with the resources they need to make a living and a life. Under her leadership, Springboard has grown into a nationally recognized economic and community development organization. Laura wants to ensure that when communities face big, complex challenges, they know how to find and call on its artists to help think of creative solutions. She will use her Fellowship to engage with a national network of colleagues to build skills and develop new strategies that can propel this work.

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