FLAGSTAFF (3TV/CBS 5) –- One recent Northern Arizona University graduate from the Navajo Nation plans on using her bachelor's degree to help the place she calls home.

For generations, Jayne Sandoval’s family has lived on the Navajo Nation. But, since she was in elementary school, she stayed in dorm buildings during the week to get a quality education.

She eventually graduated from Holbrook High School before going to NAU. Now she plans on using her education, focusing on renewable energy to help rural communities.

"I really want to implement a lot of renewable energy for people in rural areas, you know? Because that's, that's where a lot of people really need it," she said.

This is a long-term goal for her. However, in the short-term, she plans on getting her Master’s degree through the Fulbright Scholarship Program in Taiwan. But, her plans have been put on hold because of COVID-19.

"Initially, I was supposed to go to the national renewable energy lab for an internship. But because of the virus, it got canceled. It was kind of sad,” she said.

The pandemic has hit home, especially for her family.

"We did have grandparents that passed away from the virus," she said. "And then, when it first hit, it was 'Oh my god, it's here!' Like, it's literally next over them to [the] mountain."

The virus also changed her graduation.

"But, we had a whole graduation and everything. Last weekend was just like a really small, intimate family gathering so that we can celebrate."

The future is bright for Jayne, who's determined to make a difference on the Navajo Nation and around the world.

"I can't even express how thankful I am of the people that got me to where I am today. And I just want to mostly thank them, because I couldn't have done it without everybody's help."

 

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