Cynthia is the president of the Cankdeska Cikana Community College (CCCC), one of 37 tribal colleges and universities in the United States that were established in response to the failure of Native students at mainstream institutions. CCCC is located at Fort Totten, North Dakota, on the Spirit Lake Dakota reservation.
An enrolled member of the Spirit Lake Nation, Cynthia earned her bachelor’s degree in Indian Studies / English from the University of North Dakota and a master’s degree in Indian health systems from the University of South Dakota. As a 1999 Bush Leadership Fellow, she earned her PhD in educational leadership from the University of North Dakota.
Among her many leadership roles, Cynthia was a founding member of the National Indian Women’s Health Resource Center and a committee member that advised the Director of the National Institutes of Health. She also served as the former executive director of the North Dakota Indian Affairs Commission before becoming president of Cankdeska Cikana Community College in 2003.
- Board of Directors, American Indian Higher Education Consortium
- Board of Trustees, American Indian College Fund
- North Dakota Ethics Commission
- Peer Reviewer (accreditation), Higher Learning Commission
- Board of Directors, North Dakota Newspaper Cooperative