Heritage University Hosts Career Fair 2018

An upcoming event at Heritage University will connect Yakima Valley job seekers with more than 30 employers. Career Fair 2018 is free and open to the public and will also allow participants to network with other professionals.

Career Fair 2018, a collaboration between WorkSource Yakima and Heritage University, will also help employers learn more about opportunities to host interns and work with academic programs at Heritage. Attendees interested in graduate-level social work programs will have the opportunity to meet representatives from Eastern WA University, Seattle University, University of Washington and University of Washington Tacoma.

Career Fair 2018 will be held on Wednesday, April 18, 2018 from 2:30 to 5:30 p.m. in Smith Family Hall located in the Arts and Science Center on Heritage University’s main campus in Toppenish. Employers interested in participating in the event should contact Melissa Hill, interim vice president for Student Affairs, at (509) 865-0411 or hill_m@heritage.edu.

Nursing Program Expanding Enrollment

Nursing Program Expanding Enrollment to Meet Growing Need for Nurses

To meet the expanding need for nurses in hospitals, community health and primary care settings, and in schools, the Heritage University Bachelor of Science in Nursing program is expanding enrollment to 24 students for the fall 2018 semester.

The BSN program enrolled the first cohort of nine students in fall 2015, which will graduate this year. These graduates will serve communities in which they have resided all of their lives and for which they express a caring passion. With a firm commitment to meeting the needs of the local community, the Heritage Nursing program is preparing a permanent workforce of highly skilled nurses who will contribute to the transformation of the health care system in the Yakima Valley. “In order to meet the huge demand for qualified registered professional nurses in the Yakima Valley, Heritage University is expanding the number of students admitted into the BSN program,” says Dr. Christina Nyirati, director of Nursing at Heritage.

Heritage University was granted permission in 2014 from the Washington State Nursing Care Quality Assurance Commission (NCQAC) to develop the Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program. Interviews with local and state health care leaders revealed the significant demand for this program in the Yakima Valley.

Aligned with the Heritage University Mission, the BSN program mission is to advance the health of multicultural families and communities in rural environments through excellence in nursing education, service, practice and community-based research. Heritage University, located on the Yakama Nation Reservation in the heart of the Yakima Valley, prepares nurse leaders to provide culturally competent, community-focused care.

Upon successful completion of the BSN curriculum, graduates will be eligible to sit for the NCLEX examination for licensure as a Registered Nurse (RN). The BSN program incorporates professional nursing standards and guidelines as the framework for the development of the baccalaureate nurse. “Our students are succeeding in a rigorous but nurturing BSN program.  We are focused on making sure our students are well-prepared. They are reaching, and often exceeding national standardized testing benchmarks. We are looking forward to high rates of completion, and licensure exam pass rates. We know employers will welcome our grads,” said Dr. Nyirati.

Interested candidates can contact Melissa Sanchez, Administrative Coordinator for Nursing at Heritage by emailing Sanchez_M1@heritage.edu

To set up an interview with Dr. Christina Nyirati, contact David Mance at (509) 969-6084 or mance_d@heritage.edu.

“Easter Eggstravaganza”

Free Easter Egg Hunt at Heritage University

An Easter egg hunt with more than 30,000 Easter eggs is just one of the many family-friendly events to be featured at the family fun day “Easter Eggstravaganza” on March 31, 2018 on the Heritage University campus in Toppenish.

The free activities begin at 12 p.m. and go until 3:00 p.m. and will feature food, games and activities for all ages. Free hotdogs and Coca-Cola products will be served along with food and drink vendors. Free games include jumpers, duck pond, sack races, and a bean bag toss, to name a few. The event also features live music, Yakima SunKing ticket raffle and an iPad raffle. The Easter egg hunt, for children ages one to 12, will take place at locations across campus beginning at 2:30 p.m. Prizes will be announced at 3:00 p.m. People are encouraged to bring their own baskets for this event, but there will be 250 baskets given out.

This is the fourth year for the “Easter Eggstravaganza” at Heritage University, which is presented by the Omega Delta Phi fraternity in collaboration with Gamma Alpha Omega Interest Group and co-sponsored by Heritage University.For more information, contact Jesus Mendez at (509) 853-6673 or MendezJ1@heritage.edu.

Women’s Day Event

Education consultant and public speaker to deliver keynote address at Heritage University’s International Women’s Day Event

Education consultant, public speaker and former candidate for Washington State Superintendent, Erin Jones, will be the keynote speaker at “Women2Women,” Heritage University’s celebration of International Women’s Day on Saturday, March 17, 2018.

Ms. Jones has been involved in and around schools for the past 26 years. She has taught in black, white and diverse communities. Jones has received many awards during her career, including “Most Innovate Foreign Language Teacher” in 2007; “Milken Educator of the Year” for Washington state in 2008; and in 2013, she was recognized as a “Champion of Change” at the White House. She’s worked for the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction, and in 2016 she ran for State Superintendent, a race she lost by a mere 1%. At the time of her candidacy she was the first Black woman to run for any state office.

“Women 2 Women” celebrates the women of the Yakima Valley and supports early childhood education. It is organized by Heritage University’s Women 2 Women collaborative and is sponsored by the university’s Center for a New Washington. Funds generated by the event go to child care scholarships for students whose children attend the Early Learning Center.

“Education is a key factor to improving the lives of women and children,” said Dr. Natalie Martinkus, director for the center. “The stress of taking care of children can take its toll and become a barrier to women trying to earn their college degree. We want to break down these barriers while providing their children the crucial cognitive and physical start they need for later success.”

Doors open for the event at 9:00 a.m., the program begins at 10:00 a.m. and ends at noon. The event features artwork displays which celebrate the accomplishments of local women in both art and science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). Refreshments will be served. Registration is $50, and can be completed online at http://www.heritage.edu/2018Women2Women. For more information, call (509) 865-0450, or email

Honoring Dr. King

Heritage University to Hold Events Honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Heritage University will hold three events on January 18-19 to honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

The first, The Power of Sound; Embodied Approaches to Sonic Activism will feature a keynote address by Dr. Lauren Eldridge of Spelman College. Dr. Eldridge will discuss how music has paved a way for change, and how sound highlights the struggles that bring us together. Highlighting this event will be students reading excerpts from Letter from Birmingham Jail. This event will be held Thursday, January 18 in Smith Family Hall from 11:45 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

The second, The Long Red Power Movement: A Tribute to Dennis Banks, will continue the celebration honoring the Civil Rights struggle of Native Americans. A community salmon dinner (first-come, first-served) will honor the work of Native American civil rights activist Dennis Banks who passed away in the fall of 2017. Keynote speaker Ryan Booth, Ph.D. candidate at Washington State University and Swinomish tribal member will recount the complex roles of Native Americans in resistance movements throughout history. This event will also feature an open mic and traditional performances by dancers and a drum group.  Heritage art professor Gloria Garcia will facilitate a special art project for children who attend. The event takes place Thursday, January 18 in Smith Family Hall from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Finally, Dr. Chad Hamill of Northern Arizona University will present Coyote Made the Rivers: Indigenous Ecological Continuity in the Era of Climate Change, a presentation and performance which blends music and visual imagery to recount the current state of health of the Columbia River and its tributaries. This event will take place Friday, January 19 in the Donald North Library from 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m.

These events, which are free and open to the public, are sponsored by Heritage University’s MMUF Program. For more information, contact Winona Wynn, Mellon & Leadership Alliance Coordinator at (509) 865-8633 or wynn_w@heritage.edu.

Celebrating A Culture

For the second year in a row, Heritage University’s two Native American student clubs kicked off the start of fall semester in grand style. Less than a week after classes began, the American Indian Business Leaders of Heritage University (AIBL) and the Heritage University Native American Club (HUNAC) jointly hosted the second annual All Nations Student Powwow on the Heritage campus.

The event brought approximately 500 people to campus for a one-day powwow that featured drumming and dancing competitions, as well as vendors selling everything from Indian fry bread tacos and homemade pies to handcrafted jewelry, traditional beading and other merchandise.

“Heritage University is located on the ancestral lands of the Yakama Nation,” said Brenda Lewis, president of AIBL. “The powwow is a great way to celebrate and share the rich culture of the Yakama people with our community.”

Dancers of all ages competed in men’s and women’s traditional, fancy, grass and jingle dance competitions—from tiny tots (children who are under five years old) to adults over 55. Several honor dances and intertribal dances, special dances where people from all different cultures are invited to participate, also took place, as did a special blanket dance that raised money for the Dr. Russell Jim Scholarship Fund.

Eight different drum groups, one from as far away as Idaho, competed for cash prizes.

The Toppenish drum group Wild Rose Singers served as head drum for the powwow. Heritage University board member and long-time supporter Arlen Washines, deputy director for Yakama Nation Human Services, was the master of ceremonies. Recent Heritage graduate Jacob Billy served as arena director, and Casey Cree was the whip man and Karen Umtuch was the whip woman.

Legacy Walk

Walk This Way – First Bricks in the Alumni Legacy Walk Installed

Heritage University alumni are leaving their mark on the university, literally. In October, Heritage dedicated the Alumni Legacy Walk. This pathway, which runs between the university’s signature Kathleen Ross snjm Building and the Violet Lumley Rau Building, is paved with bricks engraved with the names, majors and graduation years of participating alumni.

“Universities are steeped in tradition. Heritage is no exception. We expect that, over time, the Alumni Legacy Walk will grow as more and more of our past and future graduates immortalize their time here with their own brick on the walk,” said David Wise, vice president of advancement.

The legacy walk dedication took place during the university’s first-ever Alumni Family Fun Fest. More than 250 people came out to enjoy the celebration, which included crafts and games for children, trick or treating, bounce houses and a barbeque.

“It was all about celebrating our alumni and bringing them back on campus to reconnect with Heritage and their fellow alums,” said Anne-Marie VanRiper, alumni relations coordinator. “We received great feedback from the families who attended and expect that this will become an annual event.”

Reserve your brick today! Go to heritage.edu/LegacyWalk, complete the order form, and make your gift of $45. The next round of bricks will be installed next summer.