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Buck Beneschott Native American Scholarship

1 winner$1,000
Application Deadline
Feb 23, 2020
Winners Announced
Apr 20, 2020
Education Level
Undergraduate, Graduate
Recent scholarship winners
Eligibility Requirements
Native American (registered as tribal member)

Following centuries of societal and economic discrimination, many Native Americans in the US continue to face significant adversity today.

In fact, just 17% of Native Americans continue education beyond high school--a quarter the rate of the rest of the population. The median income of a Native American household is less than 70% that of the nation as a whole. Some tribes report unemployment as high as 85%. Rates of alcoholism, depression, and other diseases are much higher in Native American tribes, while access to quality healthcare services is much lower.

And yet, Native Americans beat the odds and break through these barriers every day, becoming vibrant, successful leaders, like Ojibwe Native David Anderson, the accomplished author and founder of Famous Dave’s, and Deb Haaland and Sharice Davids, the first two Native American women elected to congress.

My father, Buck Beneschott, is a retired school psychologist who spent much of the later part of his career working with the Paiute Indian Reservation. Growing up, I saw him get up at the crack of dawn each day, driving hours to the reservation to work with people struggling with depression, substance abuse, and more.

He fell in love with the Paiute culture. He even took Paiute language lessons and would bring incredible stories back to us at home, teaching us Paiute words over the dinner table. These are some of my fondest childhood memories.

I’m creating this scholarship as a gift to my father and celebration of the work he did, but more importantly, as a recognition of the plight of Native Americans in the US today.

I hope this scholarship helps in some small way to support a young Native American who is determined to overcome the odds stacked against her as she sets her sights high and achieves her dreams.

Selection Criteria:
Published January 10, 2020
Essay Topic

Please tell us a bit about yourself and how you plan to make a positive impact on the world through your career after college.

500–1000 words

Winning Application

Lucas Oyos-Haynes
San Diego State UniversitySan Diego, CA
As children, we are taught to think analytically and critically in order to solve the issues present at a young age; for example, the square-shaped block goes into the square hole. All of childhood, even life as a whole, is one gigantic learning experience where we continually mold and re-shape who we are to resolve the problems around us; we never stop learning. Many people deny this learning experience and are perfectly content with going on living their daily lives; these people find comfort in the monotony. Yet, ever since I was a child, I have enjoyed creative problem-solving and thinking “outside of the box”, which is why I have chosen to study in the field of engineering with a double major in business. Engineering is anything but monotonous, and it is my belief that the engineering field will allow me to explore issues from a innovative and free-thinking standpoint. In my experience, it seems as though many people are used to remaining “in the box” and refuse to step out of their comfort zone to truly shine and this is exactly what engineering will allow me to overcome. My goal is to be a lifelong learner; one who is constantly and consistently overcoming the next challenge, whether that be a personal obstacle, or the next engineering project. This is how my higher education will continually benefit my life. However, I wish to use my higher education not only to improve myself, but to improve the lives of those around me. One of the biggest problems that many native communities face today is lack of access to infrastructure. Mesa Grande, the tribe from which I descend, has extremely limited access to running water, electricity, and other utilities essential to a modern day living standard. My mother is currently on the economic board for our tribe, and I believe that my business degree will allow me to follow in her footsteps to both improve Mesa Grande’s standard of living and our economic output. One of my goals is to be able to pave the way for our tribe to have a voice, and to be “put on the map” both physically and financially. Seeing my extended family’s lack of access to these essentials pains my heart; engineering will allow me the time and resources to achieve this goal, and a business degree will provide me with both the knowledge and ability to help provide these rights to my tribe. Through engineering and business, I plan to find a way to provide infrastructure and economic boons while still holding reverence to both ecology and traditional cultural values; these benefit both our native heritage and the land we call home. I’m hopeful and excited for my future, and I’m even more excited for the way I know that I can change things.


When is the scholarship application deadline?

The application deadline is Feb 23, 2020. Winners will be announced on Apr 20, 2020.

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