Navajo Nation now has its first university

Posted at: 08/15/2013 6:39 PM
By: Ashley McElroy, KOB Eyewitness News 4

Signs that say Navajo Technical College will have to be changed.

Navajo Technical University is now the first university of the Navajo Nation.

"I got excited about it and I was like 'Wow this is really cool,’” said student Chantelle Yazzie.

The school has been around since the 70's, it started as a trade school, but three years ago, a student challenged the administration to add bachelor's programs.

Since then, the college has added six bachelor's programs and will offer a masters program in Navajo Studies in the spring.

With more programs, students who thought they had to go far away for school can now stay closer to home.

Students like Chantelle Yazzie, who wanted to go to a school who could teach her more about her culture.

"I had not learned the Navajo language yet so I wanted a place to that would help me that way and encourage me," she said.

Now that the college offers a bachelor's in digital manufacturing, Vernon Kaye hopes he can get a job within the nation.

"You're learning a lot of these new academics, these new programs that are very helpful in keeping the members of the Navajo Nation within its borders to create more of an industry for themselves rather than out sourcing," says Kaye.

And with all the changes happening at the university students hope incoming students will be inspired to think big.

"Take the initiative. Do not sit back and wait for things to happen," said Kaye.

The university offers 6 bachelor degree programs, environmental science and natural resources, industrial engineering and computer science.

The university would eventually like to offer PhD programs as well.