Psychologist Tami Jollie-Trottier knows that the arts offer a creative outlet for a young person to build self-confidence and cultural identity. Her goal is to create a beautiful and safe haven where the young people of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa can discover self-expression and connect with elders through the arts. With her Bush Fellowship, she will devote time to growing her knowledge of Native arts and expressive art therapy, and develop an art studio open to the community on her reservation.
Dr. Tamim Saidi envisions a community where people of all faiths live peacefully without bigotry or discrimination. A refugee from Afghanistan who earned a doctorate in pharmacy after arriving in Minnesota, he has also become a part-time imam and activist with a passion for building trust and connections between Muslim Minnesotans and the wider community. Now, to be a transformational leader for his community, he seeks to maximize his efforts as an imam with the skills to bridge cultural and religious differences. With his Bush Fellowship, he will pursue double master's degrees in Islamic studies and leadership.
Imagine a candidate forum at the peak of a tough mayoral campaign in a major metro area where not two, not three, but as many as six candidates thought they had a chance at victory. Do you imagine the forum concluding with the candidates' ideas being brought to life by an improv comedy troupe? Well, Tane Danger did. And he made it happen, too. As co-founder and host of the Theater of Public Policy, Tane is developing new (often hilarious) models of civic discourse that facilitate solutions to shared problems. He will use his Fellowship to pursue a degree from the University of Minnesota's Humphrey School of Public Affairs. And yes, that is his real name.
When Tawanna Black thinks about the future of North Minneapolis, where she is director of the Northside Funder Groups, she sees possibility in the collective impact that African American leaders in the 1930s and ‘40s used to create stable communities. Her life-long commitment to asset-based community development and leadership training led her to the Bush Fellowship, which she’ll use to understand what these historical relationships and collaborations have to share with North Minneapolis today. She believes that the community can learn from and leverage the strengths of the past, and can work together today to turn those strengths into true community partnerships that will make change.
Terry Austin knows that a child’s relationship with his or her father has lifelong effects on health and development. He wants to grow his knowledge of systems and policies that impact fathers’ ability to be supportive resources for their children and build a counter narrative that combats widespread negative stereotypes of black fathers. With his Bush Fellowship, he will study interdisciplinary approaches that challenge men to show up, spend time and have fun with their children. With that knowledge, he will develop public events and a robust social media platform for a new fatherhood movement that tells a different story from the one that’s typically told.
Tomi Phillips wants to transform the way we educate Native students. She seeks to instill in teachers a deeper understanding of different world views and learning styles. Her goals are to inspire positive changes in tribal education, encourage more Native people to become teachers and deepen the pool of non-Native teachers who are in tune with the relational way Native children see the world. After years of being a principal, she seeks to expand her knowledge, network and influence by earning a doctorate degree in educational leadership.
As a teen, Tou SaiKo Lee wandered down a troubled path before creative writing saved his life. His travels to Thailand with his grandmother to learn from Hmong people living in mountain villages further fueled his passion for the arts and his culture. Today, he uses the arts to encourage cultural identity and pride in youth in the Frogtown neighborhood. Tou SaiKo Lee wants to expand his impact by becoming a more adept cultural liaison to the arts. He will use his Bush Fellowship to build skills in business management, and to return to Southeast Asia to grow his ability to capture elders’ stories and make them relevant to young people.
Trista Matascastillo is one of few to have served in three branches of the U.S. military. Often, she was the only woman in her command. After 16 years of service in the Navy, Marine Corps and National Guard, she was compelled to form the Women Veteran’s Initiative, a nonprofit advocacy and networking organization. She wants to respond to the growing number of women vets nationwide and to guide her organization as it grows from a working group to a robust nonprofit. With her Bush Fellowship, Trista will pursue post-secondary and graduate degrees to strengthen her leadership skills.
Predicting the future is something many sectors try to do—the government, military, and private sector, especially. But Trista Harris has learned futurism is not at the heart of the nonprofit world. As president of the Minnesota Council on Foundation, she intends to use her Bush Fellowship to study futurism and foresight, and to learn from forward-thinking leaders at such places as the Oxford Scenarios Program, Silicon Valley and Aspen Institute. Her goal is to work across sectors, learning how best to help the philanthropic community prepare for and shape the future.
Tyler Read employs art as his tool to improve his community. He believes that art can help young people form their identity and be more engaged in the world around them. He discovered this himself when he moved to Rapid City in 2004 with no understanding of what “community” could mean. Through art, he found success and belonging in his new home. He is passionate about the role public art spaces can play in fostering equity, empathy and shared responsibility. With his Bush Fellowship, he will connect with leading public arts programs across the country to gain new perspectives and knowledge. He also will forge new paths of leadership by offering his expertise and experiences with curious communities and potential collaborators.
Vaughn Vargas knows that an effective police force needs to reflect the racial makeup of the community it is sworn to protect. He is coordinator of the first-ever cultural advisory committee in South Dakota for a law enforcement agency, an appointment he took on while completing his engineering degree. He wants to help diversify law enforcement agencies through focusing on organizational behavior and culture. With his Bush Fellowship, he will develop new methods to recruit and retain Native American police officers; he will also attend the Harvard Extension School for leadership training. His personal development will focus on research in historical Lakota leadership and diplomatic relations.
Yende Anderson has a bold vision to address the shortage of primary care physicians in the region and the lack of diversity in the profession. In her work to integrate international medical graduates into the health workforce, she sees the under-utilization of highly skilled immigrants and the systemic barriers they face. She wants to lead a movement that creates alternative pathways for them to work as physicians in the U.S. To achieve change of this magnitude, she will grow her capacity to build and sustain coalitions. She will also earn her master’s degree in health care administration, research countries that have created alternative licensure and work with mentors to improve her change management skills.
Yuko Taniguchi was inspired by how fisherwomen in her native Japan used art to heal from the devastating grief and trauma of a tsunami. That inspiration fuels her work with the Arts at the Bedside Program at the Mayo Clinic, where she helps patients tap into their creativity to express fear, anxiety and grief. Through her Bush Fellowship, Yuko will explore the connections between art and resiliency both at the individual and community level. She will study with national experts who use the arts to connect mind, body and people.
Born in Peru, Yuri Nakasato lived through a devastating earthquake, violent civil conflict and epidemics of tuberculosis and cholera. Despite the obstacles, he went on to earn degrees in medicine and business administration. With a “never give up and always get up” philosophy, he seeks to lead effective, large-scale change within the Sanford Health System to help patients get better, faster and on budget. To help him acquire the leadership skills to lead this change, Yuri will use his Bush Fellowship to pursue a master’s of consulting and coaching for change through a joint executive education program with Oxford University and école des Hautes Etudes Commerciales de Paris.