WT Student Receives NAPLP Scholarship for Semester In Washington Politics

Dec. 4, 2018

CONTACT:    Laura Seals, 806-651-2587, lseals@wtamu.edu

COPY BY:     Rana McDonald, 806-651-2129, rmcdonald@wtamu.edu

WT Student Receives NAPLP Scholarship for Semester In Washington Politics


CANYON, Texas—West Texas A&M University’s Bailey Chalfant is spending the spring semester in Washington, D.C. as the recipient of a scholarship through the Native American Political Leadership Program (NAPLP). Chalfant is the first WTAMU student to be recognized by NAPLP, and she plans to use the experience to help decide on her future career path.

NAPLP provides full scholarships for Native American, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian students interested in taking part in its Semester in Washington Politics. It is a competitive process for undergraduate and graduate Bailey Chalfantstudents. Scholarship awards are based on academic ability, leadership potential and an interest in politics. Students in all tribes from across the United States are eligible to apply.

Part of Chalfant’s application process was writing an essay that addressed the question, “What do you believe are the most important issues that Native communities are confronted with today, and how do you see yourself in the equation of solving these issues?” She wrote about health care on reservations based on her own first-hand experiences and observations. Chalfant, a sophomore health sciences major, grew up on a reservation on the rolling foothills of southeastern Montana. She is the current Miss Northern Cheyenne and a staunch advocate and spokesperson for her tribe. She is a member of the Attebury Honors Program at WTAMU and founder of the University’s chapter of the American Indian Business Leaders.

The WTAMU student learned she was one of 10 NAPLP recipients in November and will start her Semester in Washington Jan. 14 at George Washington University. The scholarship is comprised of two components—two core classes and an internship. Chalfant will take a course in political management and electoral processes to learn how political campaigns run as well as a practicum, where she will develop and manage a mock campaign throughout the semester. Chalfant also will be taking classes online at WTAMU for a full semester load.

In addition to the classes, Chalfant also will spend 20-25 hours a week in an internship that best complements the coursework and her own professional goals. She has applied for an intern position with her newly re-elected senator from Montana, Jon Tester. She is confident the classes and the internship will help her decide whether she will pursue a career as a health provider or as someone involved in policy related to public health.

“I’m in the healthcare administration track—not the pre-professional—at WT, but I’m torn between the two things because in order to write and create policy at a national level, especially for people in health care, you have to have on-the-ground experience,” Chalfant said. “If you’re not a provider or in out-patient services, I don’t know that you have the tools necessary to write policy that’s going to affect people.

“I’m using this as the only semester I have before I get into my coursework to decide—either I’m going to need to take a lot more business and health law classes or a lot more sciences and math to become a provider.”

There’s no doubt Chalfant will return to WTAMU on a mission and a clear path toward her career goals.

For information about applying for the NAPLP scholarship or other national opportunities, contact Laura Seals in the Office of Nationally Competitive Scholarships at 806-651-2587 or lseals@wtamu.edu.