Miss Patrisse Vasek
Undergraduate - Bachelor's Degree in Natural Sciences, Oglala Lakota College - Math, Science, and Technology
Cantenapeciyuzapi! I greet you with a heartfelt handshake! My name is Patrisse Marie Vasek, a senior undergraduate at Oglala Lakota College pursuing a Bachelor's Degree in Natural Sciences, with an emphasis in Earth Science. I was raised on a farm in the countryside of a small community on the Yankton Sioux reservation in Lake Andes, SD, where the corn fields reach as far as the eye can see and the Missouri River Valley stretches across the horizon. Molded by my parent's cultures, Ihanktowan Oyate (Yankton Sioux) and Czechoslovakian roots, I was blessed with two families/tiospayes that ensured both cultures were of strong value throughout my life. One similarity shared between them was the respect and stewardship of the land and waters. These virtues instilled a sense of relationship and camaraderie with aspects of life that are easily overlooked or forgotten. Always a curious creature, science was the academic outlet that allowed my potential growth and aligned with my spiritual aspirations of helping heal the environment. This sense of compassion has led me towards undergraduate research assistantships and internships that opened opportunities to assisting communities facing environmental issues, especially complex issues on reservations. Through the perspectives of traditional teachings and modern scientific thought, there is a different path towards healing not only just the land, water, and ecosystems, but also ourselves. Mitakuye oyasin.