Videos

By Roadtrip Nation

Nikki Cooley

Highlight

Milestones

My road in life has taken me all over.
Grew up with her grandparents on a Navajo reservation with no running water or electricity.
Her move to high school was hard; she was bullied and her grades suffered until she found softball.
Found counselors who encouraged her to push herself and give college a try, just for a year.
She finished her bachelor's and master's degrees in forestry at Northern Arizona University.
Has worked all kinds of jobs, from sheep herder to McDonald's to Colorado River guide.
Her first time rafting was also her first time on a boat and her first time in the Grand Canyon.
She's now the first Navajo woman to get a Colorado River guide license.
Says: Push yourself and listen to the people who tell you you're going to do great things.
Keep following my journey

Career

Co-Executive Director

I foster stewardship and understanding of mother nature through outdoor guiding and youth mentorship.

Career Roadmap

Roadmap
My work combines:
My work combines:
Action Sports
Environment & Nature
Teaching / Mentoring

Day to Day

I work numerous jobs including teaching college and career preparation to middle and high school students to at-risk, 1st generation college, and low income students in Northern Arizona, but I moonlight as a commercial and non-profit river guide. I help develop activities that focus on mentoring and guiding Native youth and adults to be environmentally and socially responsible using traditional tribal knowledge.

Advice for Getting Started

Here's the first step for high school students

Make a list of pros and cons for the "right" and the "left" paths in front of you in order to help you figure out your first move. You need to remember that nothing has to be forever. The more things you experience the better it will be for you.

Recommended Education

My career is related to what I studied. I'd recommend the path I took:

Hurdles

The Noise I Shed

From Myself:

"I'm not sure if I can do this."

Challenges I Overcame

Culture/Racism
First-Generation College Student
Drugs / Addiction