Native SOAR

The University of Arizona (UArizona) College of Education's Native Student Outreach Access, and Resiliency (SOAR) is a nationally recognized, high impact multigenerational mentoring program culturally grounded in Indigenous teachings and Ways of Knowing. We center the needs of Indigenous students and provide highly engaging and effective programming for Indigenous students, families, and educators at no cost.

Native SOAR was established in 2005 by Dr. Jenny Lee, Professor in the College of Education's Center for the Study of Higher Education at UArizona, and Dr. Amanda Tachine, Assistant Professor in the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College at Arizona State University. Native SOAR has provided culturally responsive support services for students, starting in kindergarten through doctoral education. Our program creates strong pathways for Indigenous scholars, educators, and practitioners. The program has been recognized nationally, including by First Lady Michelle Obama's Reach Higher initiative, In 2022, Native SOAR was also awarded the Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education (NASPA) Indigenous Peoples Knowledge Community the Outstanding Student Support Program Award.

Since 2014, 256 undergraduates have served as college mentors who represent over 50 majors. UArizona undergraduate college students enroll in the HED 397C: Native SOAR class in the fall and spring. They care about giving back to communities by serving as college mentors to Indigenous youth. 90% of college mentors identify from over 20 sovereign Native nations. College mentors are also mentored by graduate, professional, and community mentors.

Our mentors care about giving back to our communities. Since 2014, Native SOAR has:

  • Dedicated nearly 7,000 hours’ worth of near-peer one-on-one direct mentoring to more than 6,900 kindergarten through 12th-grade students throughout the Southwest
  • Served over 140 elementary, middle, and high schools primarily in Arizona  
  • IN-PERSON MENTORING: College mentors meet one-on-one or in small groups with Indigenous youth. Open to Indigenous middle and high school youth in Southern Arizona.
  • VIRTUAL MENTORING: College mentors meet one-on-one or in small groups with Indigenous youth via Zoom. Native SOAR graduate students oversee the virtual meetings. Open to middle and high school students in Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, and Colorado.
  • CAMPUS VISITS: In the fall and spring, one-day events are offered to Indigenous youth and their families at UArizona. Participants learn college information that helps them prepare for their future. Open to all grade levels.
  • VIRTUAL CAMPS: We offer virtual camps designed to engage Indigenous kindergarten through 12th-grade students throughout the year. Camps are open to students in the Southwest.
  • PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT OPPORTUNITIES: Native SOAR staff facilitates virtual and in-person Indigenous-focused educational workshops for Arizona educators and communities.

Dr. Amanda Cheromiah (Laguna Pueblo)
Native SOAR Director

Dr. Amanda Cheromiah graduated with her Ph.D. in higher education from the Center for UArizona's Center for the Study of Higher Education in May 2021. Her dissertation entitled, "The Indigenous Revolt in Education: Indigenous Feat - A Scholar's Pace" was awarded the 2022 Outstanding Contribution to Indigenous Higher Education Research Award from the Student Affairs in Administrators in Higher Education (NASPA) Indigenous Peoples Knowledge Community. She was also awarded the 2020 Native American 40 Under 40 by the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development. Dr. Cheromiah cares deeply about giving back to Indigenous students and communities. She centers Indigenous methodologies and Ways of Knowing through visual narratives. Dr. Cheromiah has been part of Native SOAR since the program's inception in 2005.  

Jeremiah Foster
Native SOAR Graduate Assistant

Jeremiah joined the Native SOAR team in the fall of 2021 as first-year master's student in UArizona's higher education program. Prior to obtaining a bachelor's degree in political science from UArizona, he earned his associate's degree at Mesa Community College. He is from Sawmill, Arizona, a rural community located on the Navajo Nation.

Myrhea Sherman (Diné)
Native SOAR Graduate Assistant

Myrhea joined the Native SOAR undergraduate class in the fall of 2018. The following semester she was a repeat all-star mentor. Prior to obtaining a bachelor’s degree in family studies & human development from UArizona in 2019, she was recruited to continue with the program as a graduate assistant. In Fall 2021 she graduated with her master’s degree in higher education and is currently a doctoral student in the higher education program. #Wildcatforlife

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