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FARMINGTON — An Upper Fruitland resident completed an internship in Washington, D.C., through a program geared toward Native American college students.

Quinn Martinez spent part of the summer taking part in the Washington Internships for Native Students, a program under the School of Professional and Extended Studies at American University in Washington, D.C.

The program is open to American Indian, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian students enrolled as a sophomore, junior, senior or graduate students in a college or university, according to the WINS website.

Martinez, 21, participated in the program from May 28 to July 25.

As part of the experience, she lived on campus and commuted to Baltimore to intern at the Office of Telecommunications and Systems Operations in the Social Security Administration. She also completed a seminar that supports the internship and one class in federal Indian policy, which earned her six college credits.

Martinez, who is a computer information systems major at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, Ariz., said the internship widened her outlook for a career.

"Anyone can apply with any type of major," she said in a telephone interview this week.

Martinez is a 2012 graduate of Kirtland Central High School.

During high school, she traveled to Washington, D.C., for a business professionals program, but she said this time she was more immersed in the city.

She was among the hundreds of Native Americans to attend the White House Tribal Youth Gathering in July, where the highlight was seeing first lady Michelle Obama.

"I couldn't fight the crowd to see her. There was a tidal wave of people going in," Martinez said.

Martinez is Naakai dine'é (Mexican clan), born for Spanish. Her maternal grandfather clan is Tódích'íi'nii (Bitter Water clan), and her parental grandfather clan is Spanish.

Noel Lyn Smith covers the Navajo Nation for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4636 and nsmith@daily-times.com. Follow her @nsmithdt on Twitter.

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