LeChee mom seeks career with CCC help

Date: Tuesday, 7th February 2023

CCC student Charmayne Yazzie credits the college's Strengthening Indigenous Student Success program

for helping her confidently begin her educational journey.



PAGE, Ariz. - Coconino Community College student Charmayne Yazzie still remembers walking into the Page Center to take her first class in more than a decade after high school.


“At first, I was a little embarrassed,” Yazzie said. “I was worried I wouldn’t do well.”


From LeChee on the Navajo Nation, Yazzie worked two jobs to help support her partner and their three children. She needed for something to change.


So, she enrolled in CCC’s Summer Bridge courses, which were created with the help of a $2.5 million Native American Serving Non-Tribal Institution grant from the U.S. Department of Education. As part of the Strengthening Indigenous Student Success program at CCC, funded by the grant, Native American students are eased into the college experience by taking a foundational English 101A course along with a College Success course.


Yazzie received A’s for her effort, and she’s pretty confident she’ll finish her ENG 102 and Psychology courses with good grades as well. Her plan for this spring is to enroll as a full-time student. On top of that, she has landed a job as a Peer Mentor for the SISS program to help other Native American students find solid footing on their educational journey.


“I still have anxiety about it, but I’m doing it,” she said and smiled. “I decided to do it scared and kept asking myself, ‘What am I doing right now?’”


By asking herself that question, she said she can decide to continue to take a chance on her future. She’s looking for a career, not two jobs.


“I’m doing this to support my family,” she said. “But this is also for me.”


Currently, Yazzie is paying for tuition herself, but she is applying for federal financial aid as well as scholarships to help her realize the step of becoming a full-time student. She’s currently registered for 14 credit hours this spring as a CCC2NAU student, and she said she is hopeful for a 2024 graduation from CCC.


“I’ve decided to do Pre-Health Psychology,” Yazzie said, adding that she experienced significant trauma when she was younger and never underwent counseling or therapy. As a result, she struggled, until she started to go to therapy two years ago to help her overcome her trauma.


“I’m still in it, and I’m glad I went,” Yazzie said. “I don’t want other young people to go through what I did. I want to help them through challenges.”


The ultimate goal for her is a four-year degree, and, depending on how the journey goes, she might be at a point to consider the possibility of medical school. From the moment she stepped foot on the CCC Page Center, she said she’s felt supported – by advisors, her peers in similar circumstances, staff and faculty. They all helped get her on a path.


“Right now, I’m pretty fixed on that path,” she said. “I’m a bit nervous about it but definitely excited. I didn’t know I was doing the right thing, but now I do. I know I can do it.”


As a Peer Mentor for the SISS program, she now offers the same help she received.


“If you need help, there is help,” she said.


Brian Francis, SISS program manager, said Yazzie has exceeded her own expectations.


“After the summer program, she wanted to get more involved with the SISS program and give back,” Francis said, adding that he hired her as a Peer Mentor. “… and now she provides student success workshops, campus tours and mentors 15 students at the Page Center.”


Yazzie said, “It’s been fun. I like being able to help my peers and let them know they’re not alone on the journey they’re on.”


For more information about CCC, visit www.coconino.edu.





All Dates

  • Tuesday, 7th February 2023