Learning Logs: Fellows

Updates and Insights from Bush Fellows During Their Leadership Journey

Michael Strand
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When beginning the Bush Foundation Fellowship, I had specific goals and a mission for my fellowship.  I wanted to further explore projects and processes that aim to humanize an increasingly inhumane world. I aimed to connect the state of North Dakota with international locations such as Brazil and Taiwan. I desired time to reflect deeply on a variety personal topics from boundary setting to mediation.  Finally, I aimed to utilize the time to expand my artistic and professional practice to an international level. 

Elena Gaarder
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What stands out to you/has surprised you about your leadership development through the Fellowship to date? 

“Everyone has been made for some particular work, and the desire for that work has been put in every heart…..let yourselves be silently drawn by the stronger pull of what you really love.”—Rumi 

Natalie Bergquist
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Wow! Where did a whole year go? It’s surreal at times when I reflect back at the entire process of applying, interviewing, and being awarded such an honorable opportunity. At first, it was daunting to not disappoint, to not veer from the original plan, but as time passed I learned that this fellowship is similar to life. We always set out with the best intentions, but in order to learn and grow we may need to experience a different path. The exciting part is not one human has the same path and that is what truly makes us all so special.

Eric Mahmoud
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The second six months as a Bush Fellow has been an amazing and rewarding experience. I’ve had the opportunity to attend two powerful seminars in the last six months. The first seminar was entitled Business Mastery. This seminar is hosted by Tony Robbins. The Harvard Review recognized Tony Robbins as one of the top business minds in the country. The seminar is an intense mini MBA course for entrepreneurs. The second six day seminar I attended, which was also led by Anthony Robbins.

David Whitesock
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What stands out to you/has surprised you about your leadership development through the Fellowship to date? 

Upon graduating from the University of South Dakota, a professor whom I had only periodically encountered, never took a class from, but had deep respect for, emailed two quotes and a short note of encouragement for the next stage of my education and/or life. 

Makram El-Amin
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It is hard to believe that my fellowship has come to an end! It seemed like just yesterday that I began this journey, which has been physical, mental, and very spiritual. I must admit it's been a container that has kept me focused over the past two years, allowing me to give myself permission/excuse to do a lot of things that normally I couldn't or wouldn't do on my own.  This opportunity provided me the necessary space to grow, and cultivate myself as a person and leader. I'm grateful to G-d for sending me an "Angel" in the form of the Bush Fellowship.

Jennifer Waltman
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I am grateful to be in the “club” of Bush Foundation Fellows. When initially honored with the 2014 fellowship, I had the sense that my career might transcend. I was naïve. The change is to my “person” facilitating a radical disruption to my career plans.

Richard Iron Cloud

What I initially applied for a Bush Fellowship is to get some support in accomplishing one of my primary goals, which is obtaining a Doctorate in Psychology. I want to get my doctorate so I can feel prepared to provide critical analysis and to feel truly competent with the ability to engage our reservations multiple fronts and to know that I have been armed with research and writing skills that would enable me to be an effective agent of change for my Lakota people. I just learned that I can sign my name Richard Iron Cloud Ph.D.

Irene Fernando
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The Bush Fellowship is an incredible opportunity to reflect, learn, and grow. My fellowship began as a major transition in my life tapered and closed, which profoundly impacts the experience I am having today. I will share a few reflections and pieces of advice about my learning journey so far.

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Hau Mitakuyape (Hello my relatives) 

Cante wasté nape ciyuzapelo (I shake your hand with a good heart)! We were asked to put ourselves on the path of a new Bush Fellow for this post. 

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