Russell Harjo, Tecumseh junior, is the recipient of the American Indian Science and Engineering Society Google Scholarship.
The award of $10,000 is given by AISES and Google to an AISES member majoring in computer engineering, computer sciences or management information systems who demonstrates leadership and academic excellence.
Harjo is the president of NSU’s AISES chapter and credits the organization for helping him find a calling.
“I didn’t realize computer science was the career I wanted to pursue until I came to college and became more involved with AISES,” he said. “I have always been good in math and interested in computer technology, but it wasn’t until the AISES national conference that I realized I wanted to pursue a career in the field.”
Harjo, who is Pawnee and Seminole, recently returned from Washington D.C., where he interned for eight weeks with Washington Interns for Native Students. He said the internship reinforced his sense of civic pride and responsibility.
“One of the most important things I learned while I was there was how important it is to help others, how important it is to stand for what you believe in and how American Indians can have a voice,” Harjo said.
During the summer, Harjo worked for the United States Department of Agriculture in its Computer Support Division – primarily with the applications and Web sites of the Food Safety Inspection Service.
“I had a chance to design, implement, manage and create applications and make them more user-friendly for the employees,” he said. “I also learned a lot about what the division does and how it operates.”
Harjo said there were many people he wanted to thank, and that he wasn’t looking too far down the road…yet.
“I received a lot of encouragement and help from my family and friends,” he said. “I couldn’t have done it without their support.
Harjo’s future plans include being honored on the Wall of Fame on the University Center second floor.