My Mom, Laurel James is trying to finish an Interdisciplinary PhD in Forest Resources & Anthropology at the University of Washington. She is currently ABD [All But Dissertation] and has been on this educational journey for the past 10 years. She has her Bachelor’s degree in Wildlife Resources and a Master’s degree in Fire Ecology. She is currently laid-off from her previous position as a Program Manager at the University of Washington and is searching for a new job but, the bills are piling up.
As many of our friends and family can attest, if you choose to help, your donations could not be spent on a better person and; certainly your donations would not be spent frivolously! As a single mother, living in Seattle, she worked her way through her degrees, right up to the point of being laid-off, last October. She was a Program Manager [a part-time position] for an aviation biofuels grant at the University of Washington and while working on her degree, she provided funding support (via the grant) and helped guide many students to their degrees while also working on other grant teams, to produce the aviation biofuel. That biofuel was not only produced, it was used on a commercial flight from Seattle to Washington DC in November, 2016.
My Mom worked 2 jobs during my Senior year of High School, working on the Aviation Biofuels grant while also working under contract for the Muckleshoot Indian Tribe, developing a forestry based curriculum for their K-12, Tribal School; all the while, still making great progress on her own degree and never missing a single event, in my High School days. She was front and center at every single event throughout my life and her work and education, never suffered. This is who she is, she has worked hard at everything she has done ~ throughout my life and throughout her entire career! She started her Natural Resources career as a wildland firefighter for the Yakama Nation working numerous seasons on both their Engine and Helitack crews before moving on and becoming an elite firefighter on the Entiat Hotshot crew, with the Wenatchee National Forest. She was then recruited back to the Yakama Nation and worked in their Wildlife program for 18 years, before returning to school at UW.
After being laid off, my Mom thought that she had some funding options lined up in Montana with the Tribe that she is completing her PhD research with but; that all fell apart with a new manager taking over at their Forestry program. Without the mangers approval, she was out of funding options that would have kept her there and working on the dissertation. Being in the final 6 months of writing, she was forced to pack up and move back to Washington in late November and is staying with family until she secures a new job. She has applied for numerous positions but unfortunately some of them have not yet closed or; she is still waiting 4-6 weeks for the hiring process to begin. This funding would help her survive financially, until she secures a new job.
Many people seek out PhDs but I hope you can understand that she is not the typical student. Just to reach this stage of her PhD is phenomenal. We are Native Americans and members of the Yakama Nation (in Eastern Washington State). My Mom had me attending and presenting research during my High School days at the American Indian Science & Engineering Society (AISES) Conferences and I can tell you this much, there are not many Native Americans achieving advanced degrees in this country, much less PhDs. My Mom is an excellent student at UW, was selected as a Husky 100, in their inaugural year. She has received numerous other awards and accolades including the Washington State E3 Washington, Green Apple Award, in recognition of her collaborative work with tribal communities. In her field of work/research, she was also selected to be on a team of scientists, to look at tribal forestry operations across this Nation. The Indian Forest Management Assessment Team (IFMAT) was formed via a mandate from Congress and my mom was asked to be a Graduate Student Observer on that team – I honestly think that's pretty damn cool!
Her monthly bills that she is struggling to pay include:
- Storage (all her belongings are in storage)
- Cell phone
- Education loan payments
- Car Insurance
- Car payments
- Moving expenses, as soon as she secures a new job
I hope I have shown you how passionate she is about both work and her education; please help her out, if you can. She has done volunteer work and has helped so many other people throughout the years; I want to do this to help her finish her degree. It is extremely hard to see my mom struggle and i can only do so much as a 20 year old living in California, she has come so far, we have seen lean times before but have always found a way to continue. I'm doing this on her behalf as a last resort while she continues to find work.
Any help you could provide would be greatly appreciated!
Thank you from the bottom of my heart,
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