RAIN graduates

RAIN: A 'Home Away from Home'

Program supported by Clifford Circle member Chord Energy creates pathways for American Indian students at UND’s College of Nursing & Professional Disciplines.

As a child, when Barb Anderson, ’10, visited her clinic on the Turtle Mountain Reservation in north-central North Dakota, she rarely saw people in scrubs who looked like her. But that has changed, thanks to a program she now directs at UND. 

The Recruitment & Retention of American Indians into Nursing (RAIN) program was established 33 years ago within UND’s College of Nursing & Professional Disciplines (CNPD). Since then, 336 undergrad and graduate students have gone through the program. 

RAIN strives to be a “home away from home” for American Indian students, many of whom are first-generation college students coming from poverty.

“Research tells us that one of the most important things for retention of students of color is creating that sense of belonging,” Barb said. “That’s where we come in.”

RAIN’s seasonally decorated study areas and kitchen create a welcoming environment on the third floor of UND’s Nursing Building. Two full-time and two half-time nurse mentors (also RAIN alumni) are available to provide academic, financial, or emotional support to students. The program hosts a traditional meal and honor ceremony in conjunction with UND’s spring commencement, among other events that honor cultural values. 

RAIN Director Barb Anderson

RAIN Director Barb Anderson, ’10, says the program's impact has been multigenerational as children and grandchildren of RAIN graduates have enrolled. 

This past year, RAIN’s services expanded to CNPD’s Social Work and Nutrition & Dietetics students. While the program is responsible for bringing in over $20 million in federal aid, there are limitations to what these dollars can cover. Through donor funds, the program is better able to meet the needs of its students.

For one student, that meant a new pair of glasses. For another, it meant car tires to travel to nursing rotations. 

“Having financial assistance makes all the difference in the world for our students; it allows them the opportunity to complete their education. Education is the key to creating an equitable society,” Barb explained.

She says RAIN’s impact is multigenerational as children and grandchildren of RAIN graduates have enrolled in the program. And today, Barb can name several medical facilities serving Native populations where RAIN graduates are wearing scrubs. 

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Chord Energy’s commitment to creating a resilient and prosperous world includes philanthropic support of educational programs that are already doing so.Kevin Kelly Chord Energy's Vice President of Environment and Sustainability