(Editor’s note: Carmen Morgan, a senior at Haskell Indian Nations University, interned for Travois and Tepa in the summer of 2017. She returned as an intern for the 2018 Travois Conference and is graduating this spring with a bachelor’s degree in business administration. Learn more about her here.)
During my internship with Travois, I was tasked with researching local attractions in Marina Del Rey, CA, for attendees of the 18th Annual Travois Indian Country Affordable Housing & Economic Development Conference. I found so many great things to do! It was similar to planning a vacation that I wouldn’t get to enjoy, so imagine my delight when I received an invite from Travois to join the team for the three-day event!
Once there, I was greeted with sunshine and plenty of smiling faces. I attended the welcome reception, conference sessions, went to dinner with clients, mingled and networked, assisted the communications team and spoke to attendees about my internship experience with Travois and Tepa – on stage and in conversation. A big task of mine was to help attendees with the conference mobile app and troubleshoot any problems.
I really enjoyed the welcome reception! We sailed aboard a beautiful tri-level boat, dined on delicious bites and dessert and watched a sunset fit for the big screen. For the next two days, conference attendees mingled with top tribal housing and economic development professionals, attended informational sessions, networked, learned and shared experiences. In between all the shop talk, there were raffles, a photo booth and a magician to provide plenty of fun. Our breakfasts and lunches were served on the rooftop where we could share a meal with new friends, take in the view and soak up some sun. My expectations were high for both the conference and the weather, and after three days, I was not disappointed.
As great as this experience was, it started out on a much different trajectory. Before my flight on Monday afternoon, I experienced technical difficulties during my webcam admissions interview to attend graduate school. I needed to pack a few last-minute items and submit a homework assignment that would be due during my absence, and drive the 60 mile trip to the airport from the Haskell Indian Nations campus. Although seemingly busy for a Monday morning, I made it with time to spare — I can’t say the same for my luggage. At LAX, I was told that my suitcase was on the next flight from Kansas City and would be arriving in six hours. These unfortunate events had the makings for an unpleasant day, but because of the support I received from the Travois team, I had an enjoyable experience learning, networking and dining with the best. Which is comparable to the work that Travois does. Even when it seems like you may not reach your housing goals, Travois is there to support you the entire way.