An academically gifted young woman, Sasheene Denny graduated as valedictorian from her high school, Spotted Eagle, and is slated to graduate with honors from Alverno this May. While Denny certainly has proven her intellectual abilities, it took a college like Alverno to equip her with the required confidence to prepare for her next big academic challenge: the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom.

“When I first came to Alverno, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do,” explains Denny. “Now, not only am I sure, but I have so much more confidence in my abilities.”

Denny actually attended a semester at MATC before transferring to Alverno. “The College was recommended to me by a friend who thought I would appreciate the learning environment. Once I visited the campus, I was hooked and enrolled the very next semester.”

When Denny arrived to Alverno in 2008, she initially pursued a Computing & Information Technology major, which she later switched to History with a Philosophy support.

“I’ve been so happy since I switched my major to History, as if I found my true passion,” shares Denny. “I love that the faculty really care about students. They know us so well, so they’re able to offer suggestions and customize the program to each of our strengths. In turn, that helps all of us work harder and feel a greater sense of fulfillment when work is completed.”

While Denny has the benefit of a supportive family structure and was encouraged by her mom to attend college, she acknowledges the additional support from John Savagian, Alverno professor of History and associate dean of the Humanities.

“It was because of John that I applied for the scholarship to attend Cambridge. Not only did he help me through the application process, but he offered much-needed encouragement, assuring me that I was capable and ready for a challenge of this magnitude,” says Denny.

In January, Denny was informed that she was the recipient of the Davies-Jackson Scholarship, through the Council for Independent Colleges, for two years, beginning in October 2013. As a result, Denny’s tuition fees, books, lodging and other necessary expenses will be covered for the two years of study.

“I couldn’t be more thrilled. There’s a bit of nervousness, of course, but more than anything, I’m excited for the chance to travel to a new country and study at a prestigious college like Cambridge,” adds Denny. “I can’t even say I have pre-determined expectations, I just want to soak in the entire experience and make the most of the opportunity.”

Of course, the staff and faculty at Alverno are excited, as well. “We are very proud of Sasheene,” shares Savagian. “Like many of our students, Sasheene is the first in her family to attend college. And while it is our job as Alverno educators to help students like Sasheene reach their full potential and make sure they seize available opportunities, it was her dedication and discipline that allowed her to walk through the doors of opportunity.”

While Denny’s professional focus may adjust after her two years at Cambridge are complete, for now, she’s most interested in the cultural perspective of History and thinks about a career as a historical archaeologist. One certainty is that Denny – who is Native American – definitely wants a career that enables her to give back to her community.

“There are many ways I can positively impact my people, bringing attention to and affecting issues such as violence against women and alcoholism. Knowing the difference I can make keeps me interested in either teaching or law.”

Denny’s extra-curricular activities while attending Alverno will help her along any career path she chooses. She has served as the president of the ACLU Student Alliance, as well as the vice president of Circle K, the collegiate division of Kiwanis. In addition, she’s a member of Club Clio, the College’s History club, and still finds time for off-campus volunteer work.