Student Spotlight

Suquamish tribe partners with Brandman University’s Bangor Campus

November 16, 2016 by Margo Myers
Kristen Soy

Kristen Soy received her associate degree from Northwest Indian College and is now attending Brandman thanks to a new partnership program.

While Suquamish tribal member Kristen Soy leads a busy life as a marketing and promotions assistant at the Suquamish Clearwater Casino, she recently added two new roles: new mother and college student at Brandman University’s Bangor campus.

Soy is the first student to benefit from a new partnership between Brandman University and the Suquamish Higher Education Program. “The way we deliver our degree programs are a perfect fit for working students like Kristen,” said Michael Goodnow, Brandman’s Community and Corporate Relations manager at Bangor.

“I am balancing a newborn baby and two college classes right now,” said Soy. “It will be a little more complicated when I return to work full time in January, but I can do it.”

Soy is pursuing her bachelor’s degree from Brandman after missing out on a new job. The other finalist had a college degree and landed the position, but Soy is not deterred. She sees a bachelor’s degree as life-changing.

“Right now, I’m in business and marketing classes, but I’m considering switching to education,” said Soy. “I love helping kids, and I want to be the person who helps our students stay in school. It’s something I needed when I was growing up, and I’ve been through it, so I can offer some solutions that work.”

About the Suquamish tribe
The people of the ancestral Suquamish tribe can be traced back 10,000 years in the Kitsap area.
Chief Seattle was an ancestral leader, born in 1786, and is known for his treaty oration of 1854.
About half of the 950 enrolled members live on the Port Madison Indian Reservation.
Tribal members can apply for scholarships if they attend an accredited school. Their tuition, books and other fees paid for. If they live in Kitsap County, their education is fully funded. Outside of Kitsap County, tribal members can receive up to $10,000 a year for education, and up to $7,500 outside of Washington State. Students must maintain a 2.5 grade-point average to remain eligible.


Brenda Guerrero manages the Higher Education program for the Suquamish tribe. “Our mission is to support education for our tribal members,” said Guerrero. “Brandman University is literally right in our backyard, so this is perfect for our tribal members who want to earn their university degrees online.”

“We are very excited about the possibilities of bringing our educational programs to both tribal members and Port Madison Enterprises employees,” said Jennifer Perryman, Brandman’s campus director at Bangor. “It’s a partnership that we are very proud of.”

Soy said she expects having college taken care of financially will lift a lot of pressure she might otherwise feel after earning her degree. “I won’t have to worry about student loans in the future, and I can easily move if I need to for a future job,” she said. “I would highly recommend this scholarship program and Brandman University to our other tribal members.”

Become a Student

Have questions about enrollment, degree programs, financial aid, or next steps?

Further your education with a few questions

Please enter your zip code to proceed.
Please enter a valid zip code to proceed.
Is this an international zip code?
Please select a degree type
Please select your area of interest
Please select a program type
Please select a session
Please enter your name
Please enter your last name
Please enter your email to proceed
Please enter a valid email address
Please enter your phone number to proceed.
Please enter a valid phone number.

About Brandman

Earn your bachelor’s degree, master’s degree or certificate at Brandman, a regionally accredited university.

We value your privacy

By submitting this form, I agree that Brandman may contact me about educational services by voice, pre-recorded message and/or text message using automated technology, at the phone number provided, including wireless numbers. I understand that my consent is not required to attend Brandman University. Privacy Policy