It has taken Gonzaga University freshman Bethany Pete, a member of the Shoshone-Paiute Tribes of Nevada and Idaho, all of one semester to accomplish something no other Gonzaga University student has ever done. Pete is the first Gonzaga student accepted for the extremely competitive Eighth Annual Public Policy and Leadership Conference at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, Feb. 21-24.
Freshman Bethany Pete, from Owyhee, Nev., Will Attend the Eighth Annual Public Policy and Leadership Conference at Harvard University Feb. 21-24.
Pete hails from Owyhee Nev., near the state line of Idaho and Nevada. A graduate of Owyhee High School with an advanced diploma and honors, Pete has chosen business administration as her major with a concentration in law and public policies. She selected this academic emphasis based on her experience growing up on the isolated Duck Valley Indian Reservation in Nevada. Her parents are Kenneth Pete, Sr. and Barbara Pete.
She will join a group of only 50 students chosen for the prestigious three-day conference at Harvard. The conference will not only provide an introduction to the field of public policy, but will also include a series of distinguished speakers, policy workshops, and exposure to possible public service careers.
Conference participants are required to attend all conference events. The conference will pay for all of Pete’s travel expenses to the event, meals, as well as room and board at the conference. Gonzaga history and political science Instructor Daniel Bubb wrote a letter of recommendation for Pete, whom he taught in his American politics class.
“She is an excellent student who goes far beyond what is required of her in class, and submits terrific, scholarly work,” Bubb wrote in his recommendation letter for Pete. “I feel that Bethany would be an ideal candidate for the conference because she demonstrates strong scholarly ability to amass and critically analyze large volumes of material, and provides insightful and well-constructed answers to complex questions about political issues. She has a solid work ethic and consistently displays it in her coursework and in class discussions.”
Bubb noted that Pete has earned the respect of her peers primarily through her leadership ability and positive attitude.
“In the time that I have known her, Bethany is an impressive, mature, motivated and talented student. And I feel very fortunate to have the opportunity to work with someone of her caliber,” Bubb wrote. “In the five years that I have taught at colleges and universities, I definitely would rank Bethany in the top five percentile. She is a terrific person with a very bright future.”
Pete said she strived to maintain the highest expectations for herself throughout high school, and to be an exceptional role model. She served as student body president in both her junior and senior years, which provided her the opportunity to become involved in tribal government.
As team captain, she led both her volleyball and basketball teams to consecutive state championships for the first time her school’s history. Also, she was active in the band as a clarinet player because she felt “it was important to role model for younger students a passion for the fine arts.”
In Pete’s senior year in high school, she completed a team project validating the effectiveness of native plants. The project received First Team Grand Prize at the Elko County Science Fair and qualified for the Intel International Science & Engineering Fair. At the international level the project received an Honorable Mention for Special Award in Microbiology. Upon graduating, she was honored with the Air Force Recruiting Service Mathematics and Science Award and the Principal’s Leadership Award for demonstrated ability to combine academic excellence and exemplary leadership roles in school and community activities.
“My community activities included peer tutoring, in which I helped students with learning disabilities improve their reading and math skills,” said Pete, who also was crowned the Fourth of July Pow-wow Princess, allowing her to represent Shoshone-Paiute Tribes. “The accomplishment I am most proud of is having remained drug and alcohol free. I hope that my example will give other young Native Americans, including my younger brothers and sister, the courage to live a substance-free life in face of escalating peer pressure.”
Pete said she hopes to learn at Gonzaga how to serve her people to the best of her abilities and truly make a difference in the lives of her people.
“I wish to make a difference not only in the area of law and policy but in the overall standard of living in the Native American communities by establishing programs that expose tribal members to the fine arts, science, math and a high educational standard,” she said. “Upon completion of my undergraduate program I would like to gain vital work experience working in Native American communities and eventually apply for law school after which I plan to pursue a career in government.”
So far, Pete said Gonzaga is everything she had hoped it would be.
“The education I am receiving is wonderful along with the professors and friends that I have made,” she said. “I would like to see a larger Native American population but other than that Gonzaga is great!” She plans to attend the conference and is excited to represent Gonzaga.
For more information, contact Instructor Daniel Bubb at (509) 323-6948 or via e-mail.