Native American and Indigenous Students Association (NAISA)



Welcome to NAISA! We are the Native American & Indigenous Students Association at UConn. Our hope with this organization is to create representation for Native and Indigenous students on campus. We plan to educate and advocate on behalf of current events, issues, cultures, traditions, and more. Stay tuned for our upcoming events!

Whether you identify as Native and/or Indigenous or not, we would love for you to join us!

Join our organization on UConntact for meeting reminders and updates!

To get involved or collaborate with NAISA, please contact our President, Kylene Chino:

E-Board Members

President – Kylene Chino


My name is Kylene and I am a proud member of the Pueblo of Santa Ana and Navajo Nation. My pronouns are she/her. I am a Sophomore majoring in Sports Management. At the start of my first year, I was introduced to NAISA through my job at the Native American Cultural Programs. I was welcomed with open arms to a growing community and the connections I have made are lifelong. NAISA has become my family away from home especially since we all have grown a strong bond with one another. I am excited to work more with our community to increase our voice on campus as well as bring more members into our family. Can’t wait to see what this year brings!

Vice President – Sebastian April

Hello, I’m Sebastian April, a sophomore from Waterbury, CT, and a plant science major at UConn, soon to have a minor in cannabis cultivation. I am of Mi’kmaq descent and have been actively involved with NAISA since my freshman year. My introduction to the Native American Cultural Programs and NAISA stemmed from a USDA grant called New Beginnings, which facilitated my presence at UConn. Through this opportunity, I’ve had the privilege of being mentored by cultural relatives and forming lifelong friendships. As many upperclassmen have departed, I saw this as an opportune time to step into a leadership role as the Vice President. I aim to contribute to the community by sharing knowledge, fostering relationships, and expanding our network.


Secretary – Maceo Hertz-Velazquez


Hi! My name is Maceo and I’m majoring in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology (EEB for short). I am a junior and my pronouns are he/him/his. During the second semester of my freshman year, our current president Sammantha Gove introduced me to NAISA. With experience in a broad spectrum of Human Rights work, I strive to use my privilege as a means of creating space for those with less opportunities. My hopes are that NAISA can help make UConn a more inclusive space for Indigenous and Native students. Furthermore, given that our university is a land grant school I feel it necessary to understand the complete history of the places where we live, work, and foster our education. It should not go unnoticed that our institution benefits from a past filled with exploitation, oppression, and genocide. As a member of the NAISA e-board I am excited to continue learning and invite the rest of our student body to do the same!

Treasurer – Paxton Tomko


Hello! My name is Paxton, I’m part of the Lumbee Tribe of NC and my pronouns are she/hers. I’m a senior studying Molecular Biology (MCB) and I love marine viruses! I joined NAISA after I transferred to UConn and immediately felt welcomed and supported by the members. Through my involvement I hope to continue to make NAISA a supportive and inclusive space for Native and Indigenous students.

VP of Outreach – Ashlee Hamilton

My name is Ashlee Hamilton. I am a member of the Mohegan tribe in the Southeastern part of Connecticut. I am from Colchester, Connecticut. My pronouns are she/her. I am a sophomore majoring in Sustainable Plant and Soil Systems with a concentration in Environmental Horticulture as well as an interest in Sustainable Ag. I joined NAISA as a freshman because I wanted to connect and interact with other people who are indigenous and learn more about different tribes, topics, and events that are happening today. I am excited to work within this community to be in unison with others while creating a positive environment as well as encouraging others to take part in what this community has to offer!

Social Media Chair – Frida Swallow

Hi! My name is Frida, my pronouns are She/Her/Hers and I am a part of the Oglala Lakota Tribe. I am currently a junior, getting my BFA in Theatre Design and Technology. I joined NAISA at the beginning of my sophomore year and it has been so great to be surrounded by people I can relate to. I’m so excited to be able to be more involved this year as Social Media Chair and can’t wait to meet new members this year!

Advisor – Chris Newell