Work Scholars

Julian Ankney - A Student's Story

June 20, 2016

LEWISTON, ID - After 10 years of working as a CNA, senior LC Work Scholar Julian Ankney decided it was time for a career change and headed back to school. Earning a major in English and a minor in Nez Perce Language, she has not looked back.

Ankney is striving to reach her dream of going to graduate school and then return to the Lewiston area to teach English at either the high school or collegiate level. She is also interested in the PACE Option program following completing her MFA. Ankney reflects on why she wants to be a teacher saying, “I always knew I wanted to be a teacher. I just needed the right push. It’s in my nature to help. It doesn’t matter who, it doesn’t matter what walk of life they come from.” Wanting to become a teacher derives from wanting to “inspire people to read and love poetry and love music as well.”

Ankney Telling A Story

Photograph used with permission of Robert Millage Photography.

As an LC Work Scholar, Ankney works in International Programs as the Student Events Planner and has taken students on camping trips to Hell’s Gate State Park and day trips to Spokane, Washington. She also puts on events for students to play games, such as volleyball and Frisbee golf, and for students to volunteer in the community.

Through her LC Work Scholars position, Ankney quickly gained confidence in her ability to work with international students. This has paid dividends while working with international students at the LCSC Writing Center. “Before, when an international student came into the writing center,” Ankney recalls, “I would usually have one of my teachers help them, because there was communication breakdown, because I was scared.” However, since working as a Work Scholar, “A few of them will always sign up with me, because they know who I am, and I’m really able to help them with their English now. It’s awesome!” As an education and Native American advocate, Ankney presented at the National Indian Education Association on a student panel. She spoke on the success in higher education and obstacles faced by Native American students.

“I always knew I wanted to be a teacher.
I just needed the right push."

Ankney is also involved in keeping the Nez Perce culture alive. She is earning a minor in Nez Perce and now is sharing her language knowledge with others. For the past two semesters, she has helped teach two Nez Perce classes in addition to teaching a language lab class last semester. Her elders Bessie Scott and Florene Davis have been essential to helping her learn the Nez Perce language. Professor Harold Crook and Angel Sobotta have been a great help and supportive as well.

Until recently, Ankney did not consider herself a storyteller, but having earned praise with recent performances of “Sun, Moon, and Frog Girl,” she is coming around to the title. She has shared stories throughout the Lewiston area, including this past March during LCSC’s Native American Awareness Week. After seeing how many people were there to listen to her, “I was almost hyperventilating. The whole room was full. People from Lapwai were there, and I didn’t want to mess up my Nez Perce, because they would know. It was crazy, but I did it.” Now people recognize her throughout town and thank her for sharing the Nez Perce story.

To become involved in Native American culture and awareness at LCSC, students from across campus are welcomed to join Native American Club. For more information on International Programs and how to have your own international experience, read more on the Study Away page. For further information on the LC Work Scholars program, contact the program coordinator, Erin Cassetto, at (208) 792-2084 or

Read more LC Work Scholars highlights by major subject areas.