Native Youth Leadership Alliance

glassesHan, “A Wica Hde Pi Win” or Loretta Grey Cloud Emakiyapiye. Hello, my name is “She Brings Them Home Woman” or Loretta Grey Cloud. I am an American Indian woman of Hunkpati Dakota and Kul Wicasa Lakota blood. I am a recent graduate of SKC (Salish Kootenai College), which is a Tribal College University in Montana. I received my BS in Life Science in June of 2014, as well as an AS in General Science in 2013 and an AAS in Dental Assisting in 2007.

I am proud to say that I am a young mother of two smart, beautiful human beings. My daughter AnpaO Magazu (Morning Rain) is 6 years old and just finished kindergarten. She loves to sing, read books and make art. My son TaOlowan Wanzi (His First Song) is 5 years old and is prepping for kindergarten. He loves to educate anyone who is willing to listen about animals; he especially focuses on sharks, whales and other water creatures.

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Currently I live and work in the Washington DC area, where I am a post baccalaureate NIH (National Institutes of Health) researcher hired under an IRTA (Intramural Research Training Award). This program is highly competitive and is used to give recent college graduates experience working in the biomedical research field before moving into more specialized programs. I work at NIDCR (National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research) more specifically I conduct research in the Proteases and Tissue Remodeling Section, which is a lab under the Oral and Pharyngeal Cancer Branch. My project involves elucidating the role of the Mannose Receptor in bone degradation diseases such as osteoporosis.

Another program I have been involved with is the NIH Academy. It is a fellowship I do along side my day-to-day research position. The fellowship entails using coursework, community service, case studies as well as presentations from public health professionals to learn about the broad spectrum of public health issues in the U.S. We focused on policy, mental health, minority health as well as social and cultural factors that are related to individual and population health disparities.

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During my undergraduate years I was an intern in the Cellular and Molecular Biology Lab, my research focused on Bacteriophages and their Lysogens. During my thesis work titled “growing P. gingivalis in an anaerobic environment and gene expression in S. aureus” I realized all the different types of health disparities American Indians are exposed to. This reignited that spark within me and I realized my passion is to help my people in the realm of oral health. My overall career goal has always been to become a Dentist and I can honestly say that I made that my goal when I was 8 or 9 years old. Although my undergrad journey has led me to focus on research, I believe it helped me to make a better decision as to how I can be of more help to my people.

I will continue to do research here at the NIDCR for the next year. I have also recently scheduled a date to take my DAT (Dental Admissions Test) and will be busy studying in the evenings. I am also in process of applying for Dental schools although I have prepped the applications and written my personal statement, my final step is to gather enough funding to submit the actual application. Right now I am at a point in my journey where I need guidance from my peers and elders as well as support from the people that I love.

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