BEMIDJI -- Ron Wilson has been named interim outreach specialist for BSU’s American Indian Resource Center.
A press release from the university said Wilson’s role as an outreach specialist will be to bring American Indian students to campus and assist them with tasks such as applications and financial aid.
His role will also include strengthening the relationships between the university and the four tribal colleges in northern Minnesota. The release said BSU has had dual-enrollment agreements with each of the four tribal colleges since May 2017. They include Red Lake Nation College, White Earth Tribal and Community College, Leech Lake Tribal College and Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College.
“I really have a heart for not only our native students, but underrepresented students in general,” Wilson said in the press release. “Being one of those students growing up and seeing the world from that perspective has helped me flip around and want to help those who are in the same situation that I was in.”
Wilson began his new role Jan. 8. In accepting the position, he filled the vacancy left by Chrissy Koch, who left the role to become the executive director of the AIRC. Koch filled the position left by former executive director Bill Blackwell Jr., who resigned from the position in August.
Wilson has a bachelor’s degree in youth ministry from Oak Hills Christian College. The release from the university said he is a first-generation college graduate.
Wilson previously worked in the admissions office at BSU. After that, he spent four years working as an American Indian education career and academic adviser for Bemidji High School.
In addition to his previous work in education, Wilson is also a musician. The release from the university said Wilson is a “nationally known hip-hop artist touring under the name Kaboose” and that he “uses music to create connections with students.” Just prior to joining the American Indian Resource Center, Wilson spent roughly three years touring as Kaboose.
In addition to working with the regional tribal colleges, Wilson said he also would like to reach potential students in other parts of the state who may not know that much about their cultural heritage or about life in rural Minnesota in general.
“I want to continue building relationships with local Indian ed programs, but also within the inner city. I think we have a lot of students in the inner city who want to come back up north and learn the culture and learn our language,” Wilson said in the release. “I want to reach the students who have lived in the city their whole lives -- the ones who are thinking ‘I’m Native American -- what does that mean?’”