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Akiptan’s Summer Intern: Sara Collins

Updated: Dec 12, 2023

The Akiptan team welcomed our 2023 intern this past summer, Sara Collins. She joined three additional interns from the Zuni Youth Project, Makoce Agriculture and Dream of Wild Health for a three month internship that allowed the interns to learn hands-on skills at their agriculture organization while increasing their financial literacy skills online with Akiptan.

Akiptan’s program officer, Dawn E. LeBeau sat down with Sara to reflect on her three months with Akiptan. While interning at Akiptan Sara was able to work on youth programming development and build her financial literacy skills through the eight modules prepared for the summer internship.

Sara Collins, an enrolled member of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe. She will be a senior at the Cheyenne Eagle Butte High School this coming year. Sara has participated in numerous internships for the Cheyenne River Youth Project in the previous years, which included the Cheyenne River Youth Project garden Internship which she has done twice. Sara's interest and passion for native agriculture and wanting to grow her own food for her family and community has led her to become an intern here at Akiptan. Sara was excited to learn about financial literacy this summer as well as see the day to day tasks of the Native CDFI to support the Native Agriculture Producers nationwide.

What inspired your to apply for the Akiptan Summer Internship?

To learn more about agriculture and the financial aspect of everything. I hope to one day own my own farm, and to host annual farmer’s markets in the community. The importance of learning about financial literacy is important to me because I want to be able to help those who have questions about the basic understanding of Financial Literacy or related questions. It’s important to have a certain set of skills, in this case, financial skills.

What was one of the most important things you learned during your internship this summer?

Everything finance related has been of a big help to me as well as an important part of my time here. I didn’t really have a good idea until I started this internship. Now I feel like I grew in that region and I know some important things that could later on help me grow my business. The budget and business plan development will help me by making sure everything is in order and good to go. I believe that it is always better to plan out important things and one way to manage my business’s finances efficiently.

What is the biggest challenge you faced in learning more about Native CDFIs?

I came into this internship with little to no knowledge or experience about CDFIs, there were times when I’d hear the term CDFI but that was it. So, I made sure to pay attention to the lessons and meetings throughout the internship. I now have a genuine interest Native Agriculture and Financial Literacy.

Why do you feel that Native CDFI’s matter?

Native CDFIs help native communities thrive in their businesses by helping them get started and giving them a chance. Native CDFIs have also helped native peoples overcome systemic barriers, they have opened the doors to knowledge and success to anyone that wishes to own a native business or just a business in general.

How will the skills you learned help you in your future career?

As i’ve said before, i wish to own my own farm or something related to that.

Are there any other things that you would like to offer that I didn’t ask?

I am very thankful for this opportunity and very grateful to have been here and learn from Akiptan. I hope that the internship program continues to grow and help other students across the nation in understanding financial literacy in native agriculture so that our food systems can thrive.

Akiptan is grateful to our internship partners at the Zuni Youth Project, Makoce Agriculture and Dream of Wild Health for building the next generation of agriculture stewards. To learn more about Akiptan’s programming check out our monthly blogs at

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