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Reena Harris

Reena Harris has big dreams – and a big family. The Doyon Foundation student and mother of six is finding a way to balance both, and is well on her way to achieving her educational goals.

Harris, who lives in Dubuque, Iowa and is the daughter of Phillip Kim Harris and Sheri Mitchell, is a nursing student at the University of Dubuque. After graduating next May, Harris “dreams of becoming an ICU nurse and traveling to Alaska to meet my ancestors. I would like to volunteer at a community clinic while visiting Alaska.”

In addition to a strenuous school schedule, Harris finds time to volunteer at a homeless shelter and participates in various fundraisers. Most recently, she headed up a fundraiser for an underprivileged youth football team. And, of course, Harris is also very involved in the lives of her six children.

“I have a large family, so my biggest challenge was finding a way to continue with school and still meet our financial needs,” she said. “I am working to overcome this challenge by implementing strict budgeting practices and applying for scholarships to supplement our low monthly income.”

One of the scholarships Harris has received is from Doyon Foundation. “Doyon granted me a scholarship, which helped pay for my tuition. Life as a student is especially difficult financially and without Doyon’s help, I may have had to halt my education. I appreciate Doyon’s assistance more than words can say,” she said.

Speaking from experience, Harris shared some words of advice with her fellow students. “Take life one day at a time; things will improve after graduating and securing a career. The same goes for assignments; the nursing program, by nature, throws overwhelming amounts of work at students. Don’t focus on all of them – just use good time management and complete one assignment at a time. Finally, be good to yourself and give yourself a small reward after each accomplishment.”