Most high school seniors spend their final year playing sports, spending time with friends and participating in school activities. But Ravyn Dawn Bevard spent her senior year earning college credits.
Bevard, 18, and a recent Hominy High School graduate, will not be a typical college freshman. When she graduated in May, she had earned enough college credits to enroll at Oklahoma State University as a sophomore for the fall class of 2016.
On top of that achievement, she also earned three extra college credits during the summer by applying and getting accepted to a Summer Enrichment program. The program is called Native Explorers and it’s a two-week paleontology excavation trip.
“My daughter has made me proud of her everyday of her life, I love her drive and will to succeed,” said her mother, Christal Weavel. “I love that she wants to pursue a profession as a pediatrician. She is a strong young woman who has already accomplished amazing things in her young life.”
Native Explorers is a non-profit organization based in Oklahoma that provides education programs and increases the number of Native Americans in the field of science and medicine.
For her trip she traveled to Gila, N.M., where they dug for fossils and searched for artifacts. Bevard said her group found a piece of a tortoise shell that was approximately three million years old. After the find others in the group were able to collect a bag of the remains.
Twenty-four people attended the trip and 11 were new explorers, she said. There were seven college student mentors, five doctors and an archeologist working on the project as well.
The role the Native Explorers took was to dig up fossils and help with the mentors and doctor’s reports. To help them finish their research, she said.
“I loved it, it was a great experience and I was asked to come back next year as a mentor,” she said. “I would encourage all youth wanting to go into the medical field to apply for this program.”
As for her “freshman” year at OSU, she is looking forward to using her experience as a Native Explorer to advance her education and work toward her degree.
Bevard is the daughter of Christal Weavel and David Bevard. She has three brothers and belongs to the Wa-Xo-Ko-Li District.