Sarah Palacios knows what it’s like to almost lose everything, and that’s why, as the new head of the Native American program, she’s passionate about inspiring students to keep faith with their heritage.
In the early 1900s, smallpox wiped out her tribe, the Pueblo of Pojoaque. Its few survivors fled New Mexico. When they came back years later, other tribes helped them relearn their language and culture. “Traditional ways are not at odds with thriving in contemporary society. They make us stronger,” says Palacios, a 2005 Stanford graduate who mentors students and advises Native American student organizations. “We can use our education to empower our culture.”