United Tribes News

New path in life
By Anita Charging, Career Counselor, UTTC Center for Student Success

22 May 2009

BISMARCK (UTN) - Our lives are determined by the paths we choose. Our journeys are what we make of them and ultimately ourselves. Mikelyn Teeman found herself at the end of one journey with the death of her husband. Alone, with four children to raise, she chose a path that led her to North Dakota and United Tribes Technical College.

      I have come to know and admire Mikelyn since she brought her family here four years ago from The Ft. McDermitt Paiute Shoshone Tribe in southeastern Oregon.

Mikelyn and her sons, from left: Michael, Aiden, Thomas and Theodore.
United Tribes News photo Dennis J. Neumann

      On May 8, she graduated with an AAS in Business Office Medical.

      Mikelyn’s choice to come to UTTC was clearly the choice of finding a new path. She and her children found it difficult to grieve with so many people coming and going from their home. She was grateful for their concern, but decided that she and the kids needed a new start.

      Her children are: daughter Angelica (16) and sons Theodore (11), Thomas (10), Michael (8) and Aiden (1). Aiden is a new addition to the family and Thomas is a courageous survivor of cancer, a blood disorder that called for him to undergo chemotherapy.

      After checking with Thomas’s doctor about moving, she and her children arrived at United Tribes in the fall of 2005.

      Mikelyn has weathered many storms but also enjoyed good times on her higher education journey. Getting settled and making sure that her children adjusted to this new environment took time. She is grateful for the support she received from instructors, counselors and new friends.

      Her son, Aiden, was born in November 2007. For the first few weeks he seemed healthy. He took a turn for the worse when it was discovered that his tiny body could not process iron. Mikelyn spent long hours in the neonatal intensive care unit of a local hospital, praying that he would survive.

      Her friends rallied, helping her and Angelica keep the other boys on their routines. Mikelyn also credits the understanding of her instructors for getting her through the crisis academically that semester.

      Mikelyn’s survivor skills and endurance were tested again when she dealt with issues back home with former in-laws and tribal housing. Mikelyn took many of these calls in my office and I came to admire her poise, dedication and determination as a mother and student. Her daughter participated in one of the calls and it was evident that Mikelyn shares a strong bond with her daughter and sons.

      Mikelyn says that parenting has been difficult at times, but she is grateful for Angelica’s help since they have been here.

      Another counselor, Betty Anhorn, said this of Mikelyn: “She possesses tenacity and courage. In the face of many obstacles and setbacks, she consistently perseveres. I have no doubt she will continue to strive for personal growth and continue her learning process to become the person she is capable of becoming.”

      For now, Mikelyn (37) will stay in North Dakota. She has applied for the new Bachelors program in Business at UTTC. Coming here was the right decision. She and her children found a home they never expected to find and now do not want to leave.

      Mikelyn’s courage in taking a leap of faith and coming to United Tribes has paid off for her, and us. Her path has crossed those of many others. I am glad that mine was one of them.


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