Building Community—One Leader at a Time


Jones-Bowman Leadership Fellows

Back Row: Joey Owle, Davan Fourkiller-Raby, Katherine Cooper, Savannah Hicks, Kayla Johnson, Amy West, Chloe Blythe, Cree Rockwood, Dakota Brown, Kelsey Owle
Front Row: Simon Montelongo, Tim Swayney, Joshua Gossett, Noah Hicks

The most effective leaders are influential because of the relationships they form. During their annual retreat held in early August at the YMCA Blue Ridge Assembly, the Jones-Bowman Leadership Award Program provided 12 new Fellows the opportunity to not only develop leadership skills, but most importantly provided time to connect as a group. Together they were able to share in leadership activities and build new relationships with stronger connections.

During the retreat, the Fellows had the opportunity to complete their individual leadership development plans and identify their group community service project plans that outline their responsibilities, goals and commitment to the program.

This is the first year returning Fellows were assigned incoming fellows to mentor. Mentoring provides students with skills needed to support each other and build trust within the group. It also has a positive effect in building strong relationships.

Seven out of the twelve students are entering their freshmen year of college and as they continue to grow as leaders within the program, data will be collected on the success of the peer-to-peer mentoring. This year’s retreat had two senior mentors, Joey Owle, who works with Cherokee Choices and Kelsey Owle, who works at Cherokee Central Schools as the Middle School Counselor, and four groups of peer mentors within the team of Fellows. Steering committee member Kevin Jackson also attended to conduct the cultural presentation.

“I am pleased with the progress made over the past several years,” said Alicia Jacobs, director of the Jones-Bowman Leadership Award Program.  “The caliber of students entering the program and their level of commitment to community outreach is exciting to see. This program provides the students with a connection to their homeland while away at school and the support needed to cultivate strong leadership skills.”

The 2015-2016 Jones-Bowman Leadership Award Program Fellows include:

  • Chloe Blythe, a freshman at Queens University of Charlotte, majoring in Business Admin with a minor in Sports Management.
  • Summer Dakota Brown, a junior at the University of GA, majoring in Finance.
  • Katherine Cooper, a freshman at George Washington University with a double major Political Science & Dance.
  • Joshua Gossett, a senior at East TN State University, obtaining a Bachelors in Nursing (BSN) December 2015.
  • Noah Hicks, a freshman at the University of TN, majoring in Finance.
  • Savannah Hicks, a junior at Lincoln Memorial University, working on her Bachelors in Nursing.
  • Kayla Johnson, freshman at the University of Mississippi, majoring in Engineering.
  • Simon Montelongo, freshman at Appalachian State. His major is undecided.
  • Davan Fourkiller-Raby, freshman at the University of Oklahoma. Her major is undecided.
  • Kayleen Cree Rockwood, junior at Western Carolina University, majoring in Elementary Ed & Native American Studies.
  • Tim Swayney is finishing up an Associates degree at Southwestern Community College with Business Management and will transfer to Western Carolina University.
  • Amy West, freshman at Mars Hill University, majoring in Elementary Ed.

The Jones-Bowman Leadership Award Program makes financial awards to undergraduate college students committed to developing leadership skills. The program honors the memory and leadership of Principal Chief Leon Jones and James Bowman, founding members of the Board of Directors of the Cherokee Preservation Foundation.  Each year they participate in the program, Jones-Bowman Fellows receive funding of approximately $4,000 for individual leadership learning plans they develop with their mentor.

“I am honored to be a part of the leadership efforts at the Foundation,” said Jacobs. “The hard work we continue to do today will greatly impact the lives of the EBCI community for generations to come.”

For more information regarding the Jones-Bowman Leadership Award Program, contact Alicia Jacobs at 828/497-5550.

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