Angela Jaime

By Rhaelle Curry

Angela Jaime is very ambitious and a highly respected person. With her Bachelor’s of Arts degree from California State University in Ethnic studies with a concentration in American Indian Studies, her Masters of Arts in Ethnic Studies with an American Indian Studies focus, and her PhD from Purdue University in Curriculum Studies. Angela Jaime is a Professor at The University of Wyoming and the American Indian Studies director. Angela specializes in Native American women in education, American Indian studies, womens studies, and multicultural education.

Angela has worked hard to get where she is now. When she was little her grandfather and mother were hard on her to get good grades and to take school seriously. “They were always on me about school” Angela said. Her grandfather was a significant person in her life. “He always supported me, without him college wouldn’t have been a part of my life”. Her grandfather taught her a lot of things in her lifetime and she sees him more as a father figure more than anything. “It was crazy because with all of his other grandkids they called him ‘Grandpa’, but everyone knew that to me, he was ‘Dad’”, Angela said

Angela’s mother was also a big factor to her college path. “She always pushed me and was hard on me”, Angela said. Her mother wanted her to strive in school and in life. She was also a big support system for Angela. “She is like my best friend, if I needed anything she was right there”, Angela said. “My mom pushed me to my limits but without her, I don’t know who I would be”

Growing up, Angela dealt with a lot of different things being from a different ethnic background. Racial profiles, discrimination, and stereotypes happened a lot in her life. She was always so used to it, that it didn’t affect her much. It did affect one thing, that was her Major in college. Because of what she had to grow up with and was she was exposed to, she took interest in Ethnic Studies and American Indians.

She lived in Northern California as she is a member of the Pit River and Valley Maidu Tribes. Just starting out, staying close to home was a big thing for her. “Family is always important and that is one of my values”, Angela said. That’s when she decided she wanted to start out her college journey at California State University, in Sacramento. It wasn’t far from home and really liked that”, Angela said

When she moved it was a rocky transition. “Leaving my comfort zone was hard”, Angela said. She had a bit of experience with leaving and being put in a completely different setting. When she was going into middle school she moved from her home town to a different part of California. Leaving home for that first time threw me for loop, so I sort of knew what was coming”, Angela said. She knew what to expect and what was coming.

One of the big thing Angela had to deal with was being lonesome for home. “It’s always tough leaving family, but after not seeing them for a long period of time it takes a toll on you”, Angela said. The first few months of college was the hardest for her. Making Friends and finding people like her was big on her list to help her get through it. “I tried to make friends that I had a lot in common with”, Angela Said.

Being at California State she tried her best. “I did everything I could to get through it”, Angela said. With changing her major several times, she persevered and ended up settling with Ethnic Studies with a concentration in American Indian Studies. Angela knew that her Major was not an easy one “I knew that with the type of content I was learning that I would have to do some fighting”, Angela said.“Dealing with that subject is tough one, but I wanted to do it”.

 Angela persevered well and graduated from California State University with a Bachelors of Arts degree. Upon graduating, Angela decided that she wanted to further her education a little bit more. She had a big interest in her Major and she 

wanted to expand her knowledge and learning. “I had professors telling me that getting into a graduate program would be good for me, so I took their advice”, Angela said.

Angela applied to San Francisco state University and was immediately accepted. With maturing a little and gotten used to being away from home, she decided she wanted to go there. She wanted to continue her path in Ethnic Studies and American Indian Studies. Angela felt that she couldn’t do much with her degree right out of college, so she wanted to continue. “I liked all the busy work of school and I knew it was going to be something I needed later on down the road”, Angela said.

She moved to San Fransisco and she soon found out that it was going to be a struggle financially. Angela found that it would be best if she moved with her then boyfriend, because it would ease things. “With college and change always comes some struggles”, Angela said. She worked hard to get through that divot. She felt that grad school was better and more fun than Under grad.

While finishing up her degree at San Fransisco State University, Angela found a passion in teaching. She wanted to be a professor and teach everything she just learned in her 7 years of college. She wanted to spread her knowledge and help others see what is going on in the world around them. “It’s a tough subject, diversity, racism, sexism, and social justice, I felt it was important to teach that matter by someone who has actually dealt with it”, Angela said.

So, after finishing and graduating from San Fransisco State, Angela decided on continuing her education and to pursue a PhD in curriculum studies at Purdue University, in Lafayette, Indiana. Of course, with growing up and being able to do things on her own. Angela was able to leave and do that. She also had her then, husband, with her. “It was easier for me to leave then because I had been on my own for so long and I also wasn’t on my own, Angela said. For Angela the curriculum and studies were a bit more difficult. “Earning my PhD was definitely more of a struggle than my past degrees”, Angela said. “Finally figuring out what I wanted to do and be was a big accomplishment for me”.

Getting a PhD was not in mind for her when starting out college. “I was just trying to get my Bachelors degree and get out of there”, Angela said. That worked to her advantage. Now with Her Bachelors, Masters degree, and a PhD she was set to do what she wanted to do.

Angela had started looking for jobs to be a college professor or work that had to with Social Justice and things in that area. It was difficult to find a job, more than I thought it was going to be”, Angela said.

Angela decided she wanted to move to be a professor at The University of Wyoming. She started out doing that and she loved it. “I enjoy teaching and being able to share what I know is an awesome thing”, Angela said. Angela has now worked at The University of Wyoming for 12 years.

Angela is now still a professor, but as of two years ago she gained a new title, and that is being the director of American Indian Studies at the university. She has a 10-year at The University and that is one of her biggest accomplishments. “Having a 10-year is one of the highest titles you could have at any university, and I think it is pretty amazing that I have it”, Angela said.

Upon moving to Wyoming, Angela had already had her first child, with another to follow 4 years later. “Holding that title of being a mother is something I will always cherish and be proud of”, Angela said. She tries to push the importance of education on her children, just like her mother did for her. “I try to push my kids into being something great, and I will always be there to support them in whatever they decide”, Angela said. She tries to set a good example of what good parenting is like and of course education.“Without college I wouldn’t be who I am today”,  Angela said. She works hard to show her children a good life and how to be a good person. “I want my kids to be more successful than me”, Angela said

Angela now is happy and content with what she is doing. “I love where I am now”, Angela said.