Faith Toledo Awarded Media Arts Scholarship
New Mexico Highlands University media arts student Faith Toledo was awarded a $1,000 scholarship in memory of the late Bryan “Dutch” Cokeley, a media arts student who died in 2008.
Toledo, a 24-year-old from Gallup, N.M., is a member of the Navajo Nation. She is a second-year media arts student, and a senior at Highlands.
“Faith is an up-and-coming student in the Media Arts Program who has shown a great work ethic and creativity in her courses,” said Megan Jacobs, media arts professor and scholarship coordinator. “The generosity of Dr. LeRoy and his family helps enable Faith to continue to develop her talents in media arts.”
Toledo said she has a long-time interest in film.
“I hope to someday be a documentary filmmaker,” Toledo said. “This medium shares knowledge about important true-life events with people.”
Toledo said she is glad she changed her major to media arts last year.
“Media arts is fast paced, interesting and fun,” Toledo said. “I feel very fortunate to be learning from professors who are passionate about what they’re teaching. Getting this scholarship makes me want to strive even harder.”
Toledo is active in the Highlands University Native American Club and the Highlands University Students for Peace Club. She also volunteers for Big Brothers/Big Sisters and the annual Synergy Fest in Las Vegas.
Toledo is a work-study student in the university’s GEAR-UP Program. This summer, she worked at the Back Space Theatre in Durango, Colo., which shows documentaries and independent films.
Bryan Cokeley was a Highlands University media arts student who had a longtime seizure disorder and died at the age of 30. Cokeley’s family established the scholarship in 2009 for outstanding media arts students.
Before his death, Cokeley was thriving in the Media Arts Program.
Highlands University exercise and sport sciences professor Pete LeRoy is Cokeley’s stepfather, and is married to Cokeley’s mother, Kathleen LeRoy, a new adjunct faculty member in the School of Business. Cokeley’s father, Curt Cokeley, is deceased.
“Bryan loved the Media Arts Program and Las Vegas, and we wanted to give back in some small way through this scholarship,” LeRoy said. “It’s very rewarding to see students benefit from the scholarship.”
I’m glad to see an outstanding Native American student like Faith Toledo receive this award. I’m part Native American myself with Choctaw ancestry,” LeRoy said.
He added that he’s pleased the scholarship award was increased to $1,000 this year due to contributions from family and friends.