Faces of CNM: Shawna Filfred

Inspired by her mother, Shawna is studying to go into the healthcare field as a way to give back to her community
November 04, 2021

Shawna Filfred says her mom was always her support system. She raised Shawna alone, but always encouraged her to work hard and chase her passions. That helped Shawna graduate at the top of her class at Pine Hill High School on the Navajo Nation and motivated her to eventually become a dentist.

Unfortunately, Shawna’s mom passed away after a battle with cancer in 2018. Shawna had put life on hold to take care of her mom and was unsure about what came next. Then she came across CNM and realized that college was her first step forward toward the career she’d always wanted.

“I felt like I didn’t have a support system after my mom passed away, so CNM quickly became my new support system,” Shawna says. “They helped me enroll, helped me figure out my classes, and everyone at the college has been really good to me.”  

CNM also pointed Shawna toward several scholarships. She won two of them, including the CNM Foundation’s Follett Bookstore Student Success Endowment Scholarship that paid for her tuition.  

“I grew up in a low-income family and didn’t really have the means to pay for my school, so it was a huge relief to get these scholarships,” she says. 

Applying for scholarships was new and unfamiliar, but she had help from the Financial Aid department as well as the Foundation. She had been working as a dental assistant and one of her co-workers gladly wrote her the letter of recommendation she needed to apply. 

“It was scary going into the process, but I’m really happy I followed through,” she says. 

Shawna is currently studying Biology at CNM and will graduate at the end of the 2022 Spring Term. She then plans to study Biology at UNM on her way to the dental career she’s always wanted.

Once she’s a dentist, Shawna wants to return to the Navajo Nation to provide services. Growing up the nearest dentist to her was an hour away, so she wants to increase the resources for her community. She knows her mom would be proud.

“After my mom passed away I’ve always kept her lectures and teachings in mind and I want to do this for me and for her,” Shawna says. 

Students can learn more about CNM’s scholarships and find out which ones they qualify for with this simple form.