Meet Our Staff

 

Felica Ahasteen-Bryant (Diné)
Director
Email: felica@purdue.edu

Ya’at’ééh, shí éí Felica Ahasteen-Bryant yinishyé. Naashashí nishlíigo, Kinyaa’ánii  báshíshchíín, Tódích’íi’nii dashicheigo, Nat’oh Dine’e Tachii’nii dashinálí. Ákót’éego Diné asdzání nishlí.

Felica Ahasteen-Bryant is the Director of the Native American Educational and Cultural Center. She has worked in the field of education for over 20 years with emphasis in student engagement and leadership, diversity and inclusion initiatives, and recruitment and retention of students.  

Since 2009, Ahasteen-Bryant provides leadership for campus-wide Native American initiatives at the NAECC and she works collaboratively to mentor students and foster an inclusive learning environment. Ahasteen-Bryant serves as co-Principal Investigator (PI) for the Sloan Indigenous Graduate Partnership (SIGP) program and mentors Indigenous students. She was the recipient of the American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES) national award, “Chapter Advisor of the Year” at the AISES 2013 National Conference and the “Outstanding Advisor of the Year” from the Purdue Office of the Dean of Students in 2015.

Prior to joining Purdue, Ahasteen-Bryant was a teacher with the Indian Education Unit at Albuquerque Public Schools, an educational outreach advocate with the New Mexico Commission on Higher Education, and transitioned into undergraduate admissions and early outreach with the IUPUI Office of Admissions and Enrollment Center. She was instrumental with the creation of the IUPUI Native American Faculty and Staff Council, development of the IUPUI Norman Brown Multicultural Scholars Program, and established the Indiana Association for College Admission Counseling (IACAC) Multicultural Concerns Committee.

Ahasteen-Bryant has elevated the visibility of Native American initiatives through her community advocacy and engagement. She has held leadership positions with the American Indian Theatre Company of Indiana, the American Indian Center of Indiana, and served on committees with the Eiteljorg Museum and United Way of Central Indiana. In January 2019, Ahasteen-Bryant was appointed by Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb to serve as a Commissioner with the Indiana Native American Indian Affairs Commission (INAIAC) and currently chairs the INAIAC Education Committee.

As a member of the Navajo (Diné) Nation, Ahasteen-Bryant was born and raised in New Mexico and she is from the Bear People, Towering House, Bitter Water, and Tobacco People clans. She received her bachelor’s degree from New Mexico State University and master’s degree from Indiana University.

Felica Ahasteen-Bryant

 

Deb Swihart 
Administrative Assistant
Email: dswihart@purdue.edu

As the Administrative Assistant, Deb Swihart's role is to support the activities and mission of the NAECC by working "behind the scenes". "I believe strongly in the importance of a welcoming, nurturing, and supportive environment for students, and I am devoted to making NAECC a home away from home for Native American students at Purdue," she says. "Individually, each of us brings special gifts to campus. Collectively, we can form a community that makes a positive difference for all of us at Purdue and beyond."

Deb Swihart

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