The Native Student Success Summit coming to Highline College on Thursday, May 11, 2023.

This summit is designed to inspire and empower high school and college students to be successful in higher education and beyond. 

Registration is required

The summit will be offered both in an in-person format and online. If you sign up online, you will receive an email with zoom links before the event starts.

During the free summit, participants will:

  • Find encouragement and support with tools and resources for Native student success and leadership development.
  • Gain an increased awareness of ways to identify, articulate and work toward actionable goals for personal and communal success in culturally rooted ways.
  • Make meaningful connections and gain a deeper sense of community with other Native student leaders in Western Washington.

The summit for American Indian and Alaska Native students is the result of a partnership between Highline Public Schools and Highline College.

Participating as presenters and organizers are Native educators, professionals and community leaders from the school districts of Auburn, Federal Way, Fife, Highline, Kent, Puyallup School District; Gonzaga University, Green River College, Highline College, University of Washington and the Muckleshoot Tribe.

Sara Marie Ortiz and Dr. Tanya Powers are the founders and lead organizers of the summit, now in its seventh year.

Ortiz is a member of Pueblo of Acoma, a tribal community in New Mexico, and manages Highline Public Schools’ Native Education Program. Powers is of mixed heritage St. Lawrence Island Yupik/Siberian Yupik and Irish and is the Associate Dean of Workforce and Baccalaureate Education at Highline College.

“There’s nothing quite like the Native Student Success Summit. We’ve worked hard to create an opportunity that isn’t just about college or career access and success for Native students alone,” said Ortiz.

“We see it as an expansive, immersive, challenging, intergenerational learning opportunity; a chance to connect with each other, ask tough questions, challenge norms, have critical conversations and feel truly supported at the summit and far beyond by a powerful network of Native scholars, professionals, artists, advocates and visionary Native change-makers. This has never been more urgently needed in these very complex times.”

“This is our seventh annual Native Student Success Summit and we are pleased to have this event where we can nurture culture, identity and community,” said Powers, who completed her dissertation — “Giving Back, a Retention Influence of Urban American Indian and Alaska Native Women Community College Students” — at Seattle University, completing her doctorate in educational leadership.

According to Powers, the two were inspired by other successful Highline College events for students of color, such as the Black and Brown Male Summit, the Y.E.L.L. Female Summit and the Latinx Summit. Approximately 100 students are expected to attend.


Contact Mia Bull at [email protected] or (206) 592-4563.