2019 Alumni Council Election

The Alumni Council will hold elections in November for three open seats.

The Alumni Council is the principal representative of IAIA alumni and the primary forum for the exchange of alumni sentiment. The Council consists of 7 members who serve two-year terms. The Council meets four times a year with Councilors attending either by conference call or in person.

All ballots must be received by Saturday, November 30, 2019 at 5 pm. All alumni are eligible to vote. Choose a total of three members for the Council.

Important Note: The biographies and candidate statements listed below have not been proofread or edited—their submissions to the IAIA Alumni Council are posted as they were received.

Jay Bowen (Upper Skagit)

1975 AFA


1975 grad, accomplished jeweler, listed in who’s who in American silversmiths, judge at Indian market, owned 2 galleries, accomplished steel sculptures, poet, and painter, i have donated three paintings to iaia. Two seminars at Iaia metal studio. Attend events at Iaia when possible, and constantly promote the college.

Candidate Statement

I am a firm believer in the mission of Iaia, to produce and promote native arts and native spokespeople. To reach out to all tribes, and to honor the great artists that have sacrificed to make the college internationally recognized.

Leanne Campbell (Coeur D’Alene, Nez Perce, Colville)

2014 BFA


Leanne Campbell is an enrolled member of the Coeur d’Alene Tribe or Schitsu’umsh – meaning “Those who were found here” or “The Discovered People.” Her lineage also includes the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation and the Nez Perce Tribe. Leanne graduated from IAIA where she earned her BFA in Museum Studies with a minor in Studio Arts. She is an established and practicing artist, her work is collected and featured in museums. Leanne was selected for an Artist in Residency at the Institute of American Indian Arts where she was recognized for her work in fiber arts. Leanne received a 2019 Esto Perpetua award from the Idaho State Historical Society, this is one of the highest awards given in the State for those who work to safeguard Idaho’s history and cultural heritage. Leanne works for the Coeur d’Alene Casino Resort/Hotel in Cultural Tourism and assists in providing tours and workshops.

Candidate Statement

I am submitting my name for consideration for the IAIA Alumni Council. I have a great amount of pride in graduating from IAIA and I have a great amount of pride in my IAIA family. As alumni I continue to find ways to stay active in the IAIA community and continue to be an ambassador of our wonderful institution. I started school at IAIA nearly 10 years ago and have made lifelong connections and friendships. I sincerely appreciate the large network and continued support of my fellow students, faculty, and alumni. The support we can continue to offer to each other is very important. If I am chosen for this position I would help nurture the relationships, communication and engagement between IAIA alumni and our alma mater.

George Cramer (Karuk)

2007 MFA


A Navy veteran of the Vietnam War, I attended college as part-time student and family man for decades. I earned an AA – Police Science, followed by a BA in History. After military service, I was a police officer rising to the rank of Sergeant before retiring as the result of multiple line-of-injuries. This was following by forty years of corporate and private investigations. Recognized as an expert in investigations and interviewing, I have taught at the state, national and international level. I have a Lifetime Teaching Credential – Police Science. I divide my time between writing and volunteering as a Missing Persons Investigator at the San Leandro California Police Department. I’m a member of several writer’s clubs. I’m a contributing author to several anthologies and the Veteran’s Writing Project. I live in Dublin, California with my wife of thirty-five years. We have four children and three grandchildren.

Candidate Statement

My desire to serve on the IAIA Alumni Council is to give back to IAIA for the educational opportunity it provided me. I’ve always felt a need to serve my community. As a young man I began public service as an Assistant Scoutmaster and briefly as Scoutmaster of a small Boy Scout Troop. My public service experience includes over twenty coaching soccer, both boys and girls, as well as four years as a board member, and league president. Overlapping this, I spent eight years on our City Parks and Community Services Commission, four as Chairman. I wish to bring that experience to IAIA.

Moira Garcia (Chicana)

2013 BFA


Moira Garcia received a BFA in Studio Arts from IAIA in 2013 and served as Adjunct faculty from 2016-2018, teaching Spanish language and Mexican culture. She also helped to build the exchange program between IAIA and the Universidad Intercultural del Estado de Mexico. Currently, Moira attends the University of New Mexico and is pursuing a Master’s in Latin American Studies with concentrations in Latin American Art History and Indigenous Studies. She lives and works in Santa Fe.

Candidate Statement

I didn’t know in 2009 when I first attended IAIA that it would capture me into its orbit for many years. I do know that I’m not alone and that many alumni experience this phenomenon, often working and being involved at IAIA in different ways after graduating. It’s a testament to IAIA’s unique community and feeling of “home” that inspires us to keep circling. Like all good things, there’s always room for improvement. As a student, I was concerned that my identity as a Chicana (woman of Mexican descent) wasn’t acknowledged as an indigenous identity simply because there is no federal recognition. After graduation, I happily accepted an offer to create a Spanish language and Mexican culture program which would strengthen the intercultural exchange with UIEM in Mexico. It was a great opportunity to create more inclusivity between institutions and students at IAIA. As an instructor, I learned that many of my students felt culturally excluded because their indigenous identity was not recognized. As an alumni councilor, I offer my experience and voice as a Chicana from New Mexico. I hope that I can share the perspectives of students like myself and continue to encourage intercultural dialogue, inclusivity, and relationship.

Penelope Gillen (Otoe-Missouria, Kiowa)

1990 AFA


My education began at IAIA where I was determined to finish the creative writing program. Determined because I was WILD. Feral wild! The success I experienced at IA gave me confident to continue my educational pursuits. The most recent of which is a Masters of Arts in Organizational and Business Leadership. Career wise, in 2012 I was promoted to regional manager at a major health insurance company, I asked my peers if they could recommend books or mentors that would give me insight into leadership and management. I discovered they had earned their title by tenure. I searched and found a program in with to study leadership. I successfully completed that Master’s program with a GPA of 3.83. I had the confidence to pursue education because I was successful at IA so many years before. In 1988 -1990 while at IA I was surrounded by likeminded people, many of whom are still my best friends today. Kevin Red Star said to me, “I felt bad for you when IA was on the campus of the College of Santa Fe. It’s like IA didn’t have a home. Like you were a step child.” I considered this condolence and responded, “We were at home because we had each other. We had the same support and dreams that all IA students have. IA gave us the opportunity to succeed. That is the culture of IA.” I believe that now. In August 2018 I moved back to Santa Fe after a 20+ year absence. I came back to work as a RN at the new Presbyterian Hospital. I attend IA and local art functions. I live in Rancho Viejo with my boyfriend and two rescue dogs. We enjoy family time with his 3 grown kids and traveling to Oklahoma to visit the Harragarra clan. I enjoy travel, art, cooking, hiking, snowboarding, and yoga. Six Sigma. Certified Yoga Instructor. Member of Kiowa and Otoe-Missouria Tribes.

Candidate Statement

As an alumni representative, I hope to bring all grads from every career path and every ethnicity together. We all bring something to the table. We are a diverse group. Celebration and inclusion of all alum is long overdue. I pursued a career in healthcare yet the arts were still influential in shaping my career and personal perspective. I feel I am an excellent candidate because I bring my vast work and educational experience to represent all of us who so love the arts but have chosen a different career path. I believe that art can be experienced in any setting. I am invested in the community of IA both locally and universally. I attend IA functions and I live within a mile of the campus. Affiliation with IA has always been and will always be a part of who I am.

Kristin Maria (Navajo)

2009 BFA


Kristin Maria is from the Ramah Navajo Indian Reservation in Ramah, NM. She is of the Towering House clan born for the Apache Meadow People. She currently resides and works in Albuquerque, NM as an Administrative Assistant II for the Food and Beverage Department of the Isleta Resort and Casino. She is a digital media artist who graduated class of 2009 with her BFA in Graphic Design from the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, NM and she is an MFA candidate in her third semester at the Southwestern University of Visual Arts in Albuquerque, NM. She practices inter-media visual communications including graphic and film arts on digital media outlets and platforms. Her recent work with experimental film includes abstract narratives in her short films that deal with themes of family, relationships and spirituality as she defines self-identity as a Diné Ásdzáá (Navajo Woman).

Candidate Statement

During my undergrad, I was thankful for the supportive community at IAIA for teaching a young girl who was born and raised on an Indian reservation, what it meant to be an artist. The community help mold and guided me to become the person I am today, artistically, professionally, and scholarly. As I am nearing the end of my MFA program, I feel capable to take on extracurricular roles that would benefit the indigenous arts. I feel it is my time to give back to my community including the institute’s faculty, students and alumni alike, as a scholar, practicing artist and mentor. It is important to be an active member in the Native American art world at large and I feel this position as Alumni Councilor will help preserve and cultivate the Indian art culture between the institute and alumni at large. As art scholars, we are responsible for empowering and influencing, not only, Indian country but the world with our creative voices, talents and abilities. I strongly believe in supporting higher education for indigenous arts as I see it as “strategical resistance and resilience” for our people. Ahé’éé’ (thank you) for your time and consideration.

Elizabeth Stahmer (Wyandotte, Cherokee, Scots-Irish)

2018 BA


I’ve committed my professional life to helping people, originally with their personal health, but now with helping people find their career pathways. As ED of a nonprofit, I create free experiential learning opportunities, resume coaching, mentorship, internships, and job opportunities for New Mexicans in front of and behind the camera. My mission is to increase access to opportunities, offering our resources and training both in-house and in-community to inspire and empower people’s career pathways.

Candidate Statement

I love IAIA and our community. While working on my Indigenous Liberal Studies degree, I was devoted to creating immersive workshops to raise awareness of trauma, violence, healthy relationships & life skills, and developed the Red Shawl Solidarity Project that I ran for 3 years. I was dedicated to creating access to and supporting safe spaces and campus, proposing policy while ASG VP, and ultimately researching my grant funded capstone of an IAIA Minor in Counseling. As an alum and parent of 2 active students, I’m committed to supporting the next generation and our future achieve their dreams at this most special school.


For questions, please contact Institutional Advancement Administrative Assistant Sharon Russell at sharon.russell@iaia.edu or (505) 424-5730.

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