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Student spotlight: Alex Johns

By Linda Iley

Alex Johns is the Tribe’s director of Natural Resources, a position he has held since January. He is in his third year at Ashford University, working toward his bachelor’s degree and eventually his MBA.

Johns has worked in the Tribe’s Cattle program for about 15 years and has served on the Tribe’s Board of Directors from 1999-2003. He is certified in Best Management Practices in ranching operations, as well as in Beef Quality Assurance. He was president of the Glades County Cattlemen’s Association, is District 8 Representative of the Florida Cattlemen’s Executive Committee and serves on the Animal Industry Technical Council for the Florida Secretary of Agriculture.

Johns graduated with an AA in Business Administration from Ashford University and is a graduate of Oklahoma School of Equine Dentistry and Corrective Shoeing.

The Education Department recently talked to him about his education and career goals.

Q. What’s your major, and what year are you in school?

A. Business Administration. I’m finishing my second year, starting on my third.

Q. What made you choose your major?

A. I wanted to learn more advanced business skills.

Q. What career do you imagine yourself doing after graduation?

A. Same career, running the Tribal cattle program.

Q. What do you want to achieve in life? Define your goals and why they’re important to you.

A. I would like to get my MBA. I believe this will help me with Tribal enterprises, as well as my personal life and career.

Q. What obstacles did you encounter while in school, and how did you resolve them?

A. I had to learn time management. I have had a hard time juggling family, job, personal business and school.

Q. What lessons did you learn from these obstacles?

A. I have learned that having good organizational skills is the key to succeeding in attending college while working a full-time job.

Q. Are there any other important lessons you learned?

A. That education is important, as there are skills that can be learned that will help out in everyday life. I have also learned that a person is never too old to attend college, and there is always enough time in anybody’s schedule to do so.

Q. Who has been your greatest influence during your high school and college years?

A. My sister has been my biggest influence. I have seen the many hours of hard work that her job entails, and she still found the time to get her master’s. No person should have an excuse that they do not have the time to go to college.

Q. If you were to speak to high school students today, what would you talk about, and what advice would you give them about furthering their education?

A. I would express the need to continue their schooling after high school. I would tell them to have a goal of enrolling in college right after high school. Do not wait, as the task may seem too hard to attempt. Also, that you do not have to be the smartest person in the world to get a degree. Dedication and persistence is the key. They cannot depend on a dividend check forever. They must take action and take control of their own destiny. The Tribe needs them and they need the Tribe. See what they can do for their Tribe, not what their Tribe can do for them. There is no excuse; everything is paid for. They have all the support they could ask for in enrolling and being walked through the process of attending college.

Q. What has been your greatest challenge in life? Why?

A. My greatest challenge in life is breaking away from the status quo of rez life. I have tried my best to resist the pitfalls that we on the reservation are tempted with. I have not always been successful, but I have never lost focus. Life is a journey, and whenever I get sidetracked I try to reassess my direction and get back on track. No one person is perfect, nor should they have that expectation. Do the best you can with the cards you are dealt. I am fortunate to be a Seminole. The Tribe has provided every resource for my success: great leaders, a great Education Department and the financial backing to allow me to be anything I could ever want to be.

Q. How will you contribute/give back to the Tribe?

A. I would like to give back to my Tribe by providing professional advice that is in the best interest of the Tribe and Tribal businesses. I would also like to serve as a role model for anybody thinking of attending college, whether they are just out of high school or long out of school. It is never too late to go back to school. The resources are there for the taking. Make a better life for yourself, and make the Tribe a more educated force to be reckoned with.


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