A network of support

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Family and community inspire Kiara Weathersby to find success.

Kiara Weathersby is deeply rooted to Northern Arizona University. Her mother is currently employed by Facilities Services, her sister earned a degree in education in 2006, and her great grandfather, Lemuel “Lemmie” Littleman, worked as a groundskeeper for the university from 1947 to 1983. Generations of her family have instilled within Weathersby the value of a university education, and encouraged her to earn a degree to better herself and her future.

Kiara took her family’s advice and example to heart. Now a dual-major in business management and psychology set to graduate in May of 2015, she says her success stems from her desire to make her family proud, and the community support and services she received from Northern Arizona University.

“What makes me most proud of being a Lumberjack is that I know my great-grandparents would be happy that I followed their advice and came to the school that they loved and took care of for so long,” Weathersby says. “It is such a supportive community.”

Strong connections

Weathersby’s family has always provided her a support system that she could rely on, and Weathersby’s close relationships with professors, deans, and other students have been the difference that has mattered in her education and success.

“I feel very supported and encouraged at Northern Arizona University,” Weathersby says. “I’m not just a number. Professors and deans know my name. They ask how I’m doing, how my classes are going, and they are genuinely interested in my well-being. I don’t feel like that would happen at another university.”

A proud member of the Navajo Nation, Weathersby has also taken advantage of the support services offered at the Native American Cultural Center. The Center has its own advisors and study areas, and provides the chance for Native American students to connect with each other and with their heritage.

“The Center gives us all a place where we can be comfortable as a people and know that we are celebrated,” Weathersby says. “I’m encouraged and able to network with other people who have come from around the state and around the country.”

This support base has enabled Weathersby to contribute to campus—she is a participant of the Student Support Services program—and excel in her studies, earning scholarships like the Johnson Foundation Scholarship, the Schneider Family Scholarship, and the Nancy Nuebeck Memorial Scholarship. This financial aid, along with the knowledge that she has the support from donors who believe in her, continue to help turn her dream into a reality.

“Donors recognize that I can be successful, and that feeling is beyond words,” Weathersby says. “It gives me confidence in myself. It motivates me to work that much harder and make my family proud.”

Weathersby’s strong connection to the university will enable her to graduate with two bachelor’s degrees and an MBA. Her time at the university has helped Weathersby develop into a professional and she feels that she will be ready to enter the workplace to make a difference for her family and community.

“NAU makes a difference to me because I’m working toward a better me. When I leave here I will be a success story and not just a person,” Weathersby says. “I will complete the MBA program, which will just make me a more successful person throughout my career.”