Five Navajo Nation Tribe Members Receive Phefelia H. Nez/Best Friends Animal Society Scholarships For Animal Services Studies at Southern Utah University

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(Kanab, UT) - Winners of the Phefelia H. New/Best Friends Animal Society (BFAS) Scholarships that include courses, certificates and even a degree plan designed for Animal Services at Southern Utah University (SUU) were recently announced. The five winners include Jenneth Begay, a veterinary technician for Rez-Solutions and Animal Shelter, who was awarded an SUU online bachelor's degree scholarship in general studies; Olivia Holiday, a Navajo Nation animal control officer, who was awarded the Contemporary Animal Services Foundations Certificate; and Samilita Holiday, who currently works for Navajo Nation Veterinary Program and with Rez-Solutions and Animal Shelter, who was awarded with the Contemporary Animal Services Foundations Certificate. The cumulative value of the scholarships is approximately $15,000.  

The Contemporary Animal Services Foundations Certificate includes three courses: Studies of Contemporary Animal Services, Cat Lifesaving and Dog Lifesaving. These courses cover the proven policies, programs, and procedures necessary for a lifesaving animal services organization. They lay out what an effective animal services department looks like programmatically and operationally and present an opportunity for students to deepen their understanding of what professional excellence is in this field.  

“Education is a huge part of our everyday lives and when an opportunity, like scholarships, to have your passion and your heart for helping society is there, you take that opportunity and do your very best to absorb what is being taught to you. Then, upon graduation, you take that gift and continue to give back to the world.  The vision and mission that your scholarship comes will help guide your paths,” said Navajo Nation Vice President Richelle Montoya.

Best Friends Animal Society and Southern Utah University originally partnered in Dec. 2019 to curate and offer courses that help professionalize animal welfare. Some of these courses combined with additional relevant courses the university already offered, morphed into a full concentration in Contemporary Animal Services Leadership (CASL) as part of the SUU Master of Interdisciplinary Studies program. Since its inception, 16 students have graduated, with 20 more students currently enrolled.  

“We are excited to be able to work with the Navajo Nation and Southern Utah University for a second year to bring learning and development opportunities to community members who have already demonstrated a passion for Animal Services,” said Michelle Weaver, director of sanctuary outreach at Best Friends Animal Society. “Our team has had the opportunity to work alongside many from the community who are dedicated to ensuring that there are resources available for people and the pets they care for. We look forward to seeing how recipients of these scholarships utilize what they learn to create programs that support even more community members and the animals they love.”  

For more information on all the offerings curated via the Best Friends Animal Society/Southern Utah University collaboration, visit:


About Best Friends Animal Society

Best Friends Animal Society is a leading animal welfare organization working to end the killing of dogs and cats in America’s shelters by 2025. Founded in 1984, Best Friends is a pioneer in the no-kill movement and has helped reduce the number of animals killed in shelters from an estimated 17 million per year to around 400,000 last year. Best Friends runs lifesaving programs across the country, as well as the nation’s largest no-kill animal sanctuary. Working collaboratively with a network of more than 4,700 animal welfare and shelter partners, and community members nationwide, Best Friends is working to Save Them All®. For more information, visit