Nerissa Dolney

December 2023 – Graduate
Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate of the Lake Traverse Reservation
Waubay, SD

Scholarship: Katharine Scallan Scholarship
School: University of North Dakota 
Degree: Clinical Psychology 
GPA: 4.0

Community Service

  • Member of the repatriation team at the University of North Dakota
  • University of North Dakota Indian Association 
  • Member of the Indians into Psychology Doctoral Education program

I am an enrolled tribal member of the Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate. I am from Waubay, South Dakota, a little town on the edge of the Lake Traverse Reservation. I entered my undergraduate career in 2018 as a psychology major at the University of Minnesota-Morris. During a Native Studies class freshman year, I developed a strong interest in historical trauma, which I had never heard talked about within my family. This led me to add Native American & Indigenous Studies as another major.

By adding this second major, I was able to not only learn about Native peoples and cultures in general but also gain a stronger connection to my people and culture through research and talking to elders in my family. This has led me to develop a passion for bringing positive change to my people and righting the wrongs of social injustices. After completing my undergraduate degree in 2021, I began my graduate school career at the University of North Dakota. I am a third-year graduate student in the Clinical Psychology Ph.D. program and a member of the Indians into Psychology Doctoral Education program and Indians into Medicine.

Once I get earn Ph.D., I plan on becoming a licensed psychologist so that I can provide mental health services to Indigenous peoples on my reservation and help end the cycles of intergenerational trauma. Not only do I want to help bring healing to my community, but I want to enhance protective factors to prevent future trauma from occurring. Indigenous psychologists are so needed in our communities, and I intend to help fill the gaps and provide the services that are so crucial for healing.

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