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Hailey Schurz, 18.

Hawaii Pacific University Now; Next, the World

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Hailey Schurz.

That’s a dream scenario for the 18-year-old Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community member and first-year college student.

After a few minutes of listening to Schurz speak about her goals, it’s not hard to believe that she’ll accomplish much in her lifetime.

Schurz graduated in May from Xavier College Preparatory in Phoenix and recently started college at Hawaii Pacific University in Honolulu, where she’s majoring in international studies.

“I really want to work in the UN and work for human rights,” Schurz said.

Schurz is part Hawaiian and has relatives in Hawaii, which played a role in where she chose to pursue her college education.

“I’ve been here [in Arizona] all my life,” she said. “I learned so many things about this reservation. I wanted to branch out and learn about my other culture.”

Hawaii Pacific is a small private college with plenty of opportunities to study abroad and connect with people from a variety of backgrounds, Schurz said. Its diversity numbers are “pretty good,” she said. The school has approximately 7,000 students who come from 80 countries.

“I feel like the college prep school really helped me prepare for all these challenges and extra work,” Schurz said. “I was learning Mandarin the last four years in high school. I have an affinity for languages.”

China is on her list of places for potential study abroad, or even to live one day. Her degree in international studies will offer a variety of options that could land her anywhere in the world.

SRPMIC President Delbert W. Ray Sr. visited with Schurz before she left for Hawaii. He said he was impressed and wished her luck in the future.

“I told her, ‘I’m glad you’re thinking outside the box. I’m glad what you want to do is have a greater effect.”

Another issue close to Schurz’s heart is Native American rights. She’s a fan of the late John Trudell, a legend to many and staunch advocate for Native American rights. Her poem project in one of her high school English classes focused on Trudell.

She follows the No Dakota Access Pipeline, or NoDAPL, movement and has learned about the history of the American Indian Movement.

Schurz thanks her family, friends and the Community for their support.

“I’m thankful to be brought up in this Community and to have learned the culture here for as long as I did,” she said. “There are so many resources here.”