Citizen Scholar Graduate Working to Become Legal Advocate for Indigenous Rights

Abigail Crick, who will graduate May 5 with a B.A. in English and a minor in Native American and Indigenous Studies, has furthered her activist work in Indigenous communities, expanded her passion for poetry, and connected with like-minded professionals through the College of Arts & Letters’ Citizen Scholars program.

Crick will be one of the first three students to graduate from the Citizen Scholars program, which launched in Fall 2016 as an initiative to prepare undergraduate students in the College of Arts & Letters for meaningful careers and leadership roles post-graduation.

As a collaboration between all departments in the College of Arts & Letters, the Citizen Scholars program is designed to prepare high-achieving, diverse, and engaged students for life beyond college in an interconnected, 21st-century world.

“The Citizen Scholars program has been an incredible source of community,” Crick said. “The program has connected me with incredible friends, fantastic academic peers, and helped myself and others to achieve the goals we set for ourselves and as a community of scholars. The program encouraged me to better engage with my campus as well as the larger Lansing community and gave me concrete opportunities to become involved.”

The [Citizen Scholars] program has connected me with incredible friends, fantastic academic peers, and helped myself and others to achieve the goals we set four ourselves and as a community of scholars.

Students who complete the Citizen Scholars program receive a $5,000 scholarship, which can used for study abroad, study away, undergraduate research, internships, or other enrichment opportunities.

“I'm not entirely sure I could have funded some of the most impactful experiences of my college career without the funding support Citizen Scholars offers its students,” Crick said. “Thanks to the program scholarship, I was able to take a summer off work to pursue a legal internship with Whitman Family Law and Conservation Partners in Traverse City, Michigan, where I was directly involved with Native American and Indigenous rights.”

Crick says her most impactful Citizen Scholars project was her poetry piece, Beautiful Resistance: Art as Protest in Eras of Political Turbulence, which allowed her to braid together her passion of advocating for Indigenous communities with her love of poetry.

“With that project, my focus was on ways to actively show resistance in impactful ways that focus on community understanding and conversation,” Crick said. “Through my work in poetry, I understood the power of being heard, sharing my stories, and creating conversations about injustice so that it can be better addressed.”

I'm not entirely sure I could have funded some of the most impactful experiences of my college career without the funding support Citizen Scholars offers its students.

After completing the project, Crick further explored the idea of creating a conversation of injustice through poetry. This curiosity inspired her to work with the local organization, The Poetry Room, to teach poetry workshops to high school students about the power of being heard in regard to activist work.

“The entire Citizen Scholars team works above and beyond to make sure its students flourish,” Crick said. “It is rare to be part of a program where the director personally forwards events and opportunities your way, but the Citizen Scholars program is based on those personal connections that make all the difference for student success.”

Crick is a finalist for the Richard Lee Featherstone Endowed Prize, which is a $4,000 scholarship awarded to an outstanding senior to be used for further growth and development, travel, or graduate study.

After graduation, she will attend the University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law, with a full scholarship, where she will pursue her dream of being a legal advocate for Indigenous rights.