The Native Agriculture Education Fellowship Program Announces New Executive Director

The Native Agriculture Education Fellowship Program (NAEFP) appoints Nicole DeVon as Executive Director to oversee the Tribal Agriculture Fellowship for Native American, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian students studying agriculture and related fields. Nicole DeVon is a member of the Mescalero Apache Tribe and was born and raised in Washington State.

DeVon previously held the role of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and Tribal Affairs Manager for the Family Support Division of Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services. She has more than 20 years of experience in Native education, having worked with Native students from Headstart to College. Prior to working at DCFS DeVon was at Eastern Washington University, where she served as a coordinator for American Indian student programs and later as the inaugural Director of Native American Affairs and Tribal Liaison to the President of the Eastern Washington University. There she led the Lucy Covington Initiative, a partnership with Covington’s family and the Colville Confederated Tribes to honor the legacy of Lucy Covington, a tribal rights activist and rancher who worked tirelessly to preserve tribal sovereignty and self-determination while uplifting the next generation of Native leaders through mentorship.

“Nicole’s passion for working with Native students and experience building programs that help Native people thrive through education will make her an exceptional leader to advance opportunities in agriculture through the development of a robust network of Indigenous agriculture professionals,” says NAEFP Board President Karli Moore.

“As the Tribal Agriculture Fellowship develops, it is essential that it be embedded into our Indigenous communities. We are working to create sustainable networks and build pathways to pursue further education for diverse areas of study such as agribusiness, science, research, and land stewardship. We start by engaging with students to connect their educational endeavors to community, culture, and identity,” says Nicole DeVon.

2022 Cohort of Tribal Agriculture Fellows Awarded


June 8, 2022

2022 Cohort of Tribal Agriculture Fellows Awarded

The Tribal Agriculture Fellowship (TAF) Program selects the inaugural class of fellows. Ten students were awarded fellowships to advance their education and careers in an agriculture-related field. TAF is a fellowship program dedicated solely to supporting the educational and professional development of Native American, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian students pursuing technical, undergraduate, and graduate degrees in agriculture.

“Our first cohort of TAFellows is an exceptional group of students with inspirational goals in the field of agriculture. At TAF we want to support the next generation of indigenous agricultural leaders no matter what area of agriculture they are interested in pursuing. This cohort is comprised of educators, scientists, lawyers, doctors, entrepreneurs, and cultural knowledge keepers all with the ultimate goal of fostering sustainability within tribal and indigenous communities,” says Nicole DeVon, Executive Director of TAF.

The 2022 Fall Cohort of TAFellows includes:

  • Marquel Begay (Dine’ [Navajo]), Graduate Student, Ecology, Management, and Restoration of Rangelands, University of Arizona
  • Nicole Benally (Navajo), Graduate Student, Forest and Conservation Sciences, University of Montana
  • Maddylon Burris (Chickasaw), CTE, Agriculture Education, Redlands Community College
  • Carson Capps (Citizen Potawatomi Nation), Undergraduate, Agribusiness, Oklahoma State University
  • Jaelyn Dove (Lumbee), Undergraduate, Animal Science, North Carolina State University
  • Henry Hainzinger (Osage), CTE, Truck Technician/Diesel Mechanic, Oklahoma State University-Institute of Technology
  • Gina McGuire (ʻŌiwi [Native Hawaiian]), Graduate, Geography and Environment: Indigenous Geographies of Wellness, University of Hawai’i
  • Santana Nez (Navajo), Graduate, Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, University of Arizona
  • Justina Slim (Navajo), Undergraduate, Animal Science and Agriculture Business, Colorado State University
  • Brendan Walker (Navajo), Graduate, Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, University of Arizona


The Native Agriculture Education Fellowship Program (NAEFP) awards fellowships to Native American, Alaska Native, and Native Hawai’ian students pursuing technical, undergraduate, and graduate degrees in agriculture with the goal of strengthening the flow of Indigenous professionals into tribal agriculture. The Tribal Agriculture Fellowship is sponsored by leading Native agriculture industry groups including Native American Agriculture Fund, Foundation for Food & Agriculture Research, Farmer Mac, John Deere, and Farm Credit.