The IAIA Students’ Bucket Lists


College comes in many forms: experiences, emotions, accomplishments, and trials that mold each student to their capabilities and to their unique perspectives, whether it is departure, completion, or incompletion.

Enter the Bucket List, a list of things to do before students finish their time at the Institute of American Indian Arts. Every student has a goal, desire, or wish they hope to accomplish before they leave college.

So, what exactly is on the students at the Institute of American Indian Arts bucket lists?

Internships and Basketball

Nakesha Edwards

Freshman, and indigenous liberal studies major, Nakesha Edwards, came to IAIA after her uncle inspired her to follow her affinity for art and indigenous cultures by turning her attention to IAIA.

Like many students, she has the goal of earning her degree. She also hopes to immerse herself in the heritages of Native tribes and witness their cultures.

To accomplish that, she wishes to get involved with internships at art galleries on campus and elsewhere so she can help in the opening of an art gallery after she graduates.

A more personal item on her bucket list is hoping to see someone create a women’s basketball team on campus.

“I play basketball every day on the courts. I’ve been playing basketball my entire life, so it was hard coming to a school that didn’t have a basketball team,” Nakesha said.

“Don’t Take the Long Road”

Jesse Short-Bull

Sophomore Jesse Short-Bull, a creative writing major with interests in business and performing arts, has involved himself in many diverse activities, functions and roles at IAIA, including being elected secretary for the Associated Student Government, where he hopes to see the ASG become a more indigenous-based model.

Top on Jesse’s bucket list is to live for the now. A three-fold goal of Jesse’s is to pursue the college experience to the fullest by creating opportunities to share his passions beyond the regular curriculum with clubs based around horses at shelters. Jesse also would like to start a club that studies the paranormal on the IAIA campus.

Jesse has a message to incoming students: “Don’t take this experience for granted, I know I did.

“You can never get this experience back, so put some initiative into this place. You can be farther ahead in the game if you do. Don’t take the long road to college like I did.”

Embrace the Fun & Adventure

Zach Castiano


Junior, and studio arts major, Zach Castiano, a resident of the dorms, interacts with students from other states and tribes. Zach has involved himself in on-campus activities such as movies, clubs, stickball, and feast day events.

His advice to incoming students is to be prepared for challenges and problems and to embrace the fun and adventures to experience as a student at IAIA. He points out some of the activities IAIA offers are museum runs to appreciate the representation of art, the opportunity to go on hikes to release the tedium of dorm life, and outings to Violet Crown for free movies.

First on Zach’s bucket list is to encourage and support his fellow students in achieving their own bucket list and being aware of the resources available on campus.

“Anytime there’s an activity that you find interesting or fun, do it,” Zach said.

The second item on Zach’s bucket list is to raise awareness of the depression and emotional trauma some artists go through, so they can use it as a way of working through tragedy.

Embody an Ostrich

Vivian Carroll


Senior creative writing major Vivian Carroll, at nearly 70, is not your typical IAIA student. She has run for ASG president, learned to write publishable poetry, and taken performing art classes where she has learned to direct, run on catwalks, produce music, and act.

Before graduating in the spring, Vivian has a few things left on her bucket list. She wants to maintain her membership in the Alpha Chi Honors Society and a high-grade point average, and go to more of the Lannan Readings and Conversations series at the Lensic Theatre.

One item she has crossed off her bucket list being able to speak in public and put herself out there. She took a performing arts workshop with IAIA alumna and actress, Jane Lind. Vivian learned how to “get out of herself” by embodying an ostrich. She says she speaks through the ostrich so she isn’t scared to project herself and has the confidence to present.

Vivian’s advice for freshman: “It’s okay to talk to people. Be open, talk to people, and do public readings. Get out there. Get involved.”


(Photo Courtesy from

The Campus Survey

In a CHRONICLE survey sent to all students on campus, items on students’ bucket lists were vastly different. Thirty-one students participated in the survey.

”¢ 20 percent of the respondents wished to keep their grades above a B average or make the Dean’s or President’s Lists

Ӣ 13 percent of the respondents wished to travel around the world or see more of Santa Fe.

Ӣ 27 percent said they wish to be published, have their work displayed on campus, or form long-lasting friendships at IAIA that continue after.

Ӣ 40 percent said they wanted to party more at IAIA, join clubs, or and take different classes than their major requires.

Someday, the college journey will end for these four students. Some bucket lists are long, some are short and some may even be adventurous. Some are nearly done. Some are just starting.

So, fellow student, where does your bucket list fall?

Featured Photo: The Bucket List hot air balloon at the 2017 Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta (Photo courtesy of Tessa Lucero)



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