When Laura was six years old, her life was unalterably changed by an automobile accident that claimed the life of her young mother, Maria. Laura remembers her as a woman devoted to teaching her young daughters. Maria’s legacy has continued through an educational trust funded with the insurance settlement from her untimely death.
After the accident, Laura and her sister were raised by their father on the Colville Confederated Tribes Reservation in Omak, Washington. Finances weren’t easy for the family and her father, Vance, quipped that the girls were “raised on reality by an old cowboy.” Despite their financial hardship, Vance indicated that setting aside the funds for his daughters’ educations was a good idea because “education is highly valued by the family.” Setting the money aside provided the additional advantage of allowing the funds to grow. As trustee, Northwest Trustee & Management Services invested the funds for growth in high-quality, conservative mutual funds and carefully monitored investment performance through annual reviews. By the time Laura was ready for college, the trust value had increased by over 32%. Though Laura conceded that life would have been easier if access to the funds had been available while she was growing up, she noted that the trust provided an incentive to continue her education.
Acknowledging that she was raised in an area where many students did not attend college, Laura noted “it would have been easy to drift along or give up. Knowing that the [trust] funds were there gave me an extra boost to pursue my [educational] goals.” Through the “running start” program, Laura simultaneously earned a high school diploma and graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Wenatchee Valley Community College. At eighteen, she was off to Chaminade University in Hawaii as a junior to pursue a master’s degree in biology. As well as maintaining a 4.0 g.p.a.at Chaminade, Laura has been invited to participate in soil bacteria research at the University of Hawaii. Laura is able to take advantage of this opportunity due to the support she receives from the trust. Since the trust pays for her tuition, fees and books, room and board, and travel expenses, she has the freedom to do research rather than work an extra job. “The support from my trust” says Laura “allows me to keep my focus on my academic work rather than finances.” In the future, Laura aspires to earn a doctoral degree from Dartmouth College where she would like to pursue ethno-pharmacology, focusing on the traditional Native American medicines used by her grandmother. With a bright future ahead of her, Laura Campbell, through her academic successes, has found a way to honor her mother’s life and memory.