Arizona Serve AmeriCorps members contribute to their community in impactful ways, but it is also the hope that they learn and grow from the experience as well. Hosava Cameron-Kretzmann served two terms in 2018 and 2019 with the University of Arizona Cooperative Extension and Yavapai Big Brothers Big Sisters and embodies this mantra.
“It was my experience at Arizona Serve AmeriCorps in Public Health that prepared me for my current work at NAU,” he said.
During his first term with Cooperative Extension especially, he focused on working with young Head Start students on how to eat and cook in a more healthy way.
“I added exercise. I collaborated with parents of the students and learned to collect and process information regarding that program – both qualitative and quantitative data processing,” he said.
Born in Denver, Colorado, Hosava is Hopi Navajo and lived at Hotevilla (Third Mesa), Arizona, an area of the Navajo Reservation in North Central Arizona. There are just over 1,000 people living there today. His Mother moved the family to Flagstaff and then to Prescott, Arizona for work.
“I went to Yavapai College to take classes and then I went to Coconino College – both community colleges – before transferring to Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado (near the Four Corners region of Utah, Colorado, Arizona, and New Mexico) – a four-year liberal arts college that promotes outdoors adventures in its recruiting messages.”
He earned a Bachelor’s in Public Health and Cellular/Molecular Biology from Fort Lewis College. Hosava applied for, was accepted, and then finished two 300-hour service terms. It was the perfect opportunity to earn a living stipend and then an education award before shifting to graduate school at Northern Arizona University (NAU). There he earned a Masters of Public Health with a focus in Indigenous Health.
Today, Hosava Cameron-Kretzmann is an evaluation associate in the Office of the Vice President for Research at NAU and is based in Flagstaff. He decodes qualitative and quantitative data into digestible reports for stakeholders and grants applications for science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) programs. The information is collected from interviews, focus groups, and surveys of participants who are either in or want to be in one of the related study programs at NAU. It is used for student retention, program improvements, grants and more.
“My goal is to get more Native American students involved in STEM programs,” he said.
For his leisure time, Hosava likes anything that involves being outdoors and nature, like hiking and running. He especially enjoys meals with his family and movies.
On March 19, 2023, Hosava accomplished another quest – he was the first American and sixth runner to cross the finish line at the Los Angeles Marathon. It was his first marathon and he was one of 22,000 runners who participated. His accomplishment was featured on Native News Online and you can see him interviewed after the race here and his award ceremony here.
He said he felt relieved because, again, he did not give up, but the pain he felt in his legs after the run made him collapse. He trained for two years before entering the L.A. Marathon.
He aspires to qualify for the Paris 2024 Summer Olympics in France. “I have come close, but not made it yet,” he said.
As far as advice for current and future AmeriCorps members, Hosava had this to add. “If you can see yourself doing it, then you can do it! Follow through with what you intend to do and use passion and drive!”
Hosava’s passion and drive are an inspiration to us all and we are excited to see what he accomplishes next!