What's New In The Community: April 2014


Saint Mary’s Student Jennifer Waltman Earns Bush Fellowship Award

Jennifer Waltman, a Saint Mary’s

University of Minnesota student in the Doctor of Psychology program,

was one of 24 leaders recently awarded a 2014 Bush Fellowship.

Waltman, from Maple Grove, Minn., will

use her $100,000 award to assist her during the next three years to

complete her studies at Saint Mary’s and help develop systems to

assist in mental health advocacy and therapy for Native


“I’m a Lakota, and my interest is in my own

community and improving the health of Native Americans,” Waltman

said. “Natives have the biggest disparity in the nation for chronic

disease. It is my hypothesis that historical trauma has caused

epigenetic changes that contribute to epidemics of poor health

outcomes such as diabetes, substance use disorder, cancer, heart

disease, depression and PTSD. I want to explore mental health

treatment incorporating traditional healing that would improve

symptoms of chronic disease.”

Citing guidance from mentors in

the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe and the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux

Community, Waltman will also use some of the award money to fund

research with professors at UCLA and the University of Oklahoma. Her

long-term goals include working with other multi-cultural

psychologists to create a multicultural health and wellness center,

eventually leading to consulting tribes and native people to help

eliminate health disparity.

Before she embarks on her future

plans, Waltman will finish her doctoral studies at Saint Mary’s.

She is currently doing clinical training at Abbott Northwestern,

learning with an integrated team comprised of psychiatrists,

psychologists and nurse practitioners. She is continuing her studies

while working as the managing partner for Heritage Strategic Group

where she advises businesses and non-profit organizations on

strategic processes.

Since 1965, the Bush Foundation has worked

to develop the leadership capacity of the region by making

investments in more than 2,200 people through its Fellowship

programs. The Bush Fellowship is designed for people who have already

demonstrated exceptional leadership abilities, but who feel they

could accomplish even more for their community with focused,

intensive leadership development. The Fellowship is distinctive in

its flexibility, allowing Fellows to articulate what they need to

become a better leader — whether through a self-designed learning

experience or an academic program — then providing them with the

resources and support to make it happen.

DSGW Architects Help Native Design Firm Open and Mentor

DULUTH, Minn. – A new firm

that helps Native American tribes plan and design buildings and

communities will receive mentoring and support from DSGW, one of the

oldest, established architecture firms in Minnesota, officials of

both companies announced in March.

The First American Design

Studio will work with DSGW Architects, which has offices in Duluth,

the Iron Range and the Twin Cities, to assist tribes nationwide in

planning for expansion, growth and development in their communities,

often including the design and construction of buildings.


architectural planning services that First American Design Studio

offers, such as budgeting, site analysis, facility assessments,

capital campaign assistance and master planning, help tribal leaders

develop a vision,” said Mike Laverdure, founder of the First

American Design Studio and an enrolled member of the Turtle Mountain

Band of Chippewa, based in North Dakota. “It’s really all about

the effort around a project to get it to the point where a tribe is

ready to move forward and work with an architect. We want help plan

and advocate for growth within Native communities.”


has worked for DSGW since 2008, helping the firm secure projects in

Native communities throughout the Midwest. “When Mike joined DSGW,

we knew he dreamed of owning a Native American firm,” said Randy

Wagner, a partner at DSGW Architects and also at First American

Design Studio. “A significant amount of DSGW’s work is tribal.

With Mike’s leadership, we have become even more engaged.”

Wagner added, “The creation of a

Native-owned business allows an even greater opportunity for

development of tribal communities outside of the Midwest. Mike has a

passion for giving back and cares about designing buildings that

serve as elders in Native American communities.”

Laverdure is a

board member of Minnesota’s American Indian Chamber of Commerce and

is a Sequoyah member of the American Indian Science and Engineering

Society. As the outgoing president of the regional, professional

AISES chapter, he works to raise funds to promote science,

technology, engineering and math activities for Native youth. Mike

graduated from North Dakota State University’s College of

Architecture and is a registered architect.