The leadership of the Oneida Indian Nation has always believed a quality education provides the necessary foundation for a successful future. That’s why providing academic and enrichment programs and opportunities to all Oneida Members remains a primary focus.

One such opportunity is the Nation’s Scholarship Program, open to all enrolled Members in good standing. Since the program began in 1990 nearly 400 Oneida Members have received assistance earning high school diplomas, certificates, undergraduate degrees, graduate degrees and doctorates.

The program, preparing to enter its twenty-seventh year, continues to present a variety of choices for Members seeking financial assistance for their education and also reward those who demonstrate the commitment, dedication and hard work needed to achieve success.

The new coordinator Sarah Carrillo is excited to be a part of the evolution of this scholarship program.

Sarah is no stranger to the long list of programs and services the Nation offers its community. At the age of 13, she entered the Nation’s Youth Work Learn Program, beginning in the Scholarship Program where she assisted with the filing of forms, applications and other paper work. In subsequent years she spent time with the Family Services Department, Four Directions Productions and the Early Learning Center. During her time spent with the Nation as a youth and throughout her college years Sarah stayed true to her ambition – to use what she learned to help others in the community make their own way through school and achieve their goals as well.

Having earned a master’s degree in Public Administration from SUNY Brockport in May, Sarah contemplated returning home to work for the Nation. She applied and was hired for the position of Scholarship Coordinator in the Education Department. “I saw this job as a great opportunity for me to get my foot in the door, to bring new ideas and raise awareness of the program,” Sarah said. “It is nice to come back to the community where I grew up and to bring back what I have learned.”

Diving right in, Sarah has brought new initiatives to the program, including the creation of a student center work space and expanding the program to include more opportunities for continued education with BOCES. The new student center offers a convenient location at the Children & Elders Center in Oneida for current and prospective students to receive assistance with online financial aid research, curriculum research, grant applications, college applications and more. Many resources, including Sarah’s experienced advice, are available at the center to help students in the preparation of their future education. “I enjoy helping Members explore their own interests and finding their niche when it comes to their education,” said Sarah.

Plans call for expanding more incentive opportunities with BOCES by the 2017 spring semester to keep up with the growing interest in vocational and skilled trade certificate programs.

Sarah has seen an increased interest in the Nation’s Scholarship Program over the past few months and she hopes that trend continues. Currently there are nearly 70 Oneidas enrolled in higher education, including 24 in associate’s degree programs, 24 in bachelor’s programs, 14 in master’s programs and six in Ph.D. programs. Sarah says that many of the current students have already earned a degree and are continuing on with their education, choosing to expand their knowledge and grow as individuals. Some of the more popular areas of study include business management, psychology, culinary arts and education.

Financial aid is available through the program for eligible Members pursuing post-secondary education in a college degree program at a regionally accredited institution, or a certificate program from an accredited or non-regionally accredited institution. Cash incentives and awards are also available for academic achievements such as making the Honor or Merit Roll, attendance records, and for graduates from high school and above, GED recipients and those who earn a vocational certificate.

Sarah is available to meet one-on-one with Members to discuss the program guidelines and to assist with the application process. For more information contact Sarah at (315) 829-8150 or 1 (800) 685-6115.