What is Pitzer/WesternU’s Native Youth to College Program?

Pitzer College and Western University of Health Sciences are proud to sponsor a program that supports Native American students’ transition from high school to college. The Native Youth to College Program is a college preparatory program for Native American High School youth in 9th-11th grades, designed to motivate them to complete high school and strengthen their self-esteem, their academic preparation for college and their connection to traditional knowledge and culture. This program will focus on the humanities and STEM & health sciences while building the necessary academic skills for college. Native American Scholars and Elders will contribute cultural knowledge and traditional ways of learning within the academic environment.


The goal of this program is to prepare Native American students for academic achievement and leadership roles. In the Native Youth to College Program, students will be introduced to cultural studies, media studies, academic writing, and learn how to navigate college application process. Our partnership with Western University of Health Sciences (WesternU) will expose students to the fields of medicine, including career tracks in dentistry, veterinary practice, nursing, pharmaceutical, osteopathy, and health administration. Time spent at Wishtoyo Foundation’s Chumash Cultural Village will introduce students to marine science from both a Western and Chumash perspective, as well as surfing, local plant knowledge, Chumash Elders, & Chumash language and history.

The Program will emphasize both academic and traditional tribal ways of learning and provide an interdisciplinary perspective of Native Americans through academic learning.  Students will emerge with an understanding of both the challenges and the opportunities available for Native people in higher education. They will also develop and apply communication, time management, problem-solving and decision-making skills. Furthermore, students will learn about social responsibility through community engagement projects, and experience a variety of avenues of self-expression.  During the Program, students will meet speakers, Elders, mentors, and staff members who will serve as supportive contacts throughout their future college application process, university, and post-university journeys.

Scott Scoggins – Pitzer/WesternU’s Native Youth to College Program Director:

My name is Scott Edward Orellaña Ingles Scoggins and I am proud to be of Pipil Nahuat, Pocoman Maya, and Scottish ancestry. I was born into a family that was deeply invested in various political and social movements in Latin America and the United States. This background instilled in me an internal drive, desire, and sense of duty to serve young people and to work for equity and social justice. I believe that a single voice can make a difference and so I am committed to developing my own self and empowering the next generations of leaders to develop their own voices.

My passion and purpose in life is to connect Native American Indian youth to higher education opportunities that will enable them to take on leadership roles within their tribal communities. Across the various programs I implement, my aim and mission is always to challenge, inspire, support, and motivate students to pursue higher education and develop leadership and communication skills.

My personal motto, “Tradition for Life – Education For Our Future” cuts to the core of my belief in a dual focus on traditional learning and preparation for academic success. My comprehensive programs are designed to support students on intellectual, physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual levels. My ultimate goal is to empower a new generation of leaders within the Native American community, and help each student fulfill their obligation to their tribe, to themselves, and to society at-large.

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