UNC American Indian Center faculty member Qua Lynch recently finished her first year working as the Native Student Engagement Coordinator. Staff writer Davis Rhodes talked with Lynch about her position and her educational goals.
Daily Tar Heel: What can you tell me about your position as Native Student Engagement Coordinator at UNC?
Qua Lynch: Overall, we strive to increase the number of first-generation college students and help them complete their secondary studies through implementation of many different programs and sports on campus that are oftentimes multi-faceted. Specifically where the American Indian Center is involved is that we host a program, the Carolina Horizons Program, which is for high school juniors and seniors that will be incoming college students — not necessarily here at Carolina, but just higher education in general. For our students that are actually on campus that are natives, we host a native students orientation and then I’ll be teaching a student success seminar. We also have other professional development opportunities like student mock-interviews, preparation for graduate school, help finding internships and things of that nature.
DTH: What can you tell me about your citizenship and involvement in the Haliwa-Saponi Indian Tribe?
QL: I am a citizen of the Haliwa-Saponi tribe. We are approximately 3,800 members, we are predominantly located within the Halifax and Warren counties of North Carolina...We have culture classes, we have our own Haliwa-Saponi tribal school, which is a charter school so it’s a public school. Many of our tribal members attend that school. We have a fully functioning tribal government, and we are a sovereign nation. We access and operate to make sure we provide services for our tribal members, and I am happy to be one of the citizens to partake in many of the programs and to help make sure they all happen.