Nekoma Burcham: A New Mission

OVMP's Nekoma Burcham will be leaving IUPUI this month as a recipient of a Women's Fund grant to help young women move from poverty to sustainability in life. Dedicating over a decade of improvements and critical new initiatives as a member of the IUPUI campus community, Nekoma will be greatly missed.

After over 11 years serving the IUPUI community, Nekoma Burcham will say farewell to the Office of Veteran and Military Personnel (OVMP) on December 18, 2015 to fulfill a new mission helping struggling young women find hope and a sustainable new life. Originally from Huntington, IN, Nekoma joined the Office of the Registrar in 2004; first entering official grade rosters “in the days when faculty still had to walk them over to our office.” A unique opportunity to change positions in her first year resulted in her first touchpoint with veteran students filing GI Bill paperwork and assisting with basic services for this student population.

Following a few years working with the Office of the Bursar, Nekoma helped create the first unit dedicated to serving IUPUI’s rapidly growing number of student veterans. The OVMP opened in 2009. She worked for two years as a member of the AAR coding team (2013 – 2015). But missing and loved by the students she formerly served, Nekoma returned to the OVMP this fall before learning she was the recipient of a grant from the Women's Fund for a social entrepreneurship project proposal submitted last year.

Nekoma will spend the next two years of her life as part of the NEXT initiative. Her mission is to provide young women, many with former non-violent records, with a pathway from poverty to personal sustainability through the use of small-scale agriculture as a foundation for education and skill-building. Her project, recently showcased on Indiana Business, will include 2 years of funding to turn this grass roots concept into a functional non-profit organization with additional support from Women's Fund for the program’s first 8 years.

Nekoma, May 2015 graduate of SPEA’s Sustainable Management and Policy BSPA program and ET’s Sustainable Technologies Certificate, is a true IUPUI success story. Congratulations and best wishes in your new mission!

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