CNAY Co-Hosts First Ever Gen-I Native Youth Networking Reception on July 7!

GenINetwork Thanks (1)On July 7, the Center for Native American Youth (CNAY) partnered with the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI) to co-host the first Generation Indigenous (Gen-I) Native Youth Networking Reception. The reception, which was held at NMAI, brought together more than 140 Native American youth under the age of 25 currently in Washington, DC for summer programs and internships. The event was designed to create a networking space for Native people and to build upon the growing Gen-I Network, which CNAY leads as part of the greater Gen-I initiative.

“The Gen-I Native Youth Networking Reception was a phenomenal experience. Navigating professional life in Washington is less nerve-wracking now that I know there is a tight-knit circle of professionals in this city who understand my heritage and my drive to succeed.” – Mackenzie Neal, Washington Internships for Native Students participant.

During the reception, Native youth ranging from law school to high school, from programs like American University’s Washington Internships for Native Students (WINS) and the Native American Political Leadership Program (NAPLP) at George Washington University, participated in a structured networking session with Native professionals from tribal organizations, federal agencies and the private sector. This session provided an opportunity for youth to connect with peers, learn about the career paths of young Native professionals who are currently working in key roles in DC, and cultivate mentor relationships.

“The Gen-I Native Youth Networking Reception exceeded my expectations. This reception was different than any other I have attended while interning in DC  because I was among my peers. I left the event feeling hopeful for the future of tribal nations because of all the smart, talented, and driven young people I interacted with.” – Sarah Schilling, 2013 Champion for Change, Washington Internships for Native Students participant 

Sarah Schilling_Gen I Reception

Throughout the event, youth exchanged contact information through digital business cards. QR codes on participant name tags allowed youth to use their smart phones to collect emails and phone numbers to stay in touch. Prizes were raffled off over the course of the reception, with winners receiving Nike N7 gear and shoes.

Event Sponsors_Gen I Reception“This Gen-I Networking Reception was the first of its kind and it was a huge success,” said CNAY’s Executive Director, Erik Stegman. “We look forward to making this a permanent and fun part of Native interns’ experience here in Washington, D.C. every year.” CNAY thanks our event sponsors, participating professionals, and Gen-I partners for making the reception possible.

Event Sponsors:

  • Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian (nmai.si.edu)
  • National Congress of American Indians (ncai.org)
  • Hobbs, Straus, Dean, & Walker LLP (hobbsstraus.com)

Gen-I Partners:

  • American Indian Higher Education Consortium (aihec.org)
  • National Congress of American Indians (ncai.org)
  • National Indian Education Association (niea.org)
  • National Indian Health Board (nihb.org)
  • Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian (nmai.si.edu)
  • U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (www.hhs.gov)
  • U.S. Department of the Interior (www.doi.gov)

Participating Professionals:

Resource Table_Gen I Reception
Gen-I Resource Table
Nikki Pitre_Gen I Reception
NIkki Pitre from the American Indian Higher Education Consortium
NIHB_Gen I Reception
Michelle Castagne from the National Indian Health Board
Corey Hinton_Gen I Reception
Corey Hinton from Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP
Alison Grigonis_Gen I Reception
Alison Grigonis from the U.S. Department of the Interior
Full Room_Gen I Reception
Full house!
Ryan Ward 2_Gen I Reception
Ryan Ward from the Center for Native American Youth
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