Programming and Support

Programming and support for Myaamia students—each activity, project, class, and visit—are but one part of the much broader, continuously developing relationship that has developed over the years between the Miami Tribe and Miami University.

To support this thriving and mutually enriching relationship, the University's Vice President for Student Affairs (VPSA) serves as the official University liaison with the Miami Tribe. The VPSA designates a Student Affairs staff member to serve as the Director of Miami Tribe Relations, charged with the following responsibilities:

  • Maintaining close communication with the Tribe
  • Coordinating various campus activities between the Tribe and the University
  • Acting as the major on-campus resource and support person for Miami Tribe students who attend Miami University

Kara Strass

Kara Strass is the Director of Miami Tribe Relations for the Myaamia Center and she serves as an on-campus resource for Myaamia students. Kara served as the Graduate Assistant for the Myaamia Center from 2016 -2018 and completed her M.S. in Student Affairs in Higher Education at Miami in May 2018.

Kara is an enrolled citizen of the Miami Tribe of Oklahoma who grew up in Huntington, Indiana and has enjoyed a strong family and community connection to her Myaamia heritage.

Andrew Sawyer

Andrew Sawyer is the Education Outreach Specialist in the Miami Tribe Relations Office. In this position he is responsible for increasing the exposure of the Myaamia Center and Miami University’s relationship with the Miami Tribe of Oklahoma across campus. He will explore areas where information about this relationship and history may be incorporated into classrooms and campus activities. As part of this he also hopes to promote more collaborative efforts between faculty and the Myaamia Center that address tribal needs and priorities

Bobbe Burke

Bobbe Burke is the Emeritus Coordinator of Miami Tribe Relations. 

A Miami University graduate and active participant in community organizations and initiatives in the City of Oxford, Bobbe leverages her working knowledge of the campus and Oxford communities to assist Myaamia students and the Myaamia Center in identifying and making local connections that can produce significant partners.

Bobbe's earliest associations with the Miami Tribe, in 1991 and 1992, were coordinating the first on-campus educational events involving Tribal officials and visitors. In 1994, she was appointed Coordinator of Miami Tribe Relations and held that position until she retired in December 2019. She uses her longevity and research in this position to document an ongoing chronological record of interactions, activities, and events between the University and the Tribe. Indeed, she compiled much of the history of this relationship.



The Director of Miami Tribe relations also helps lead programming related to the Miami Tribe. At times, this requires the following varying responsibilities:

  • Event planning and coordination
  • Organizing and hosting visits to the Tribe in Miami, Oklahoma for special annual events
  • Serving as a host for Tribal visitors who come to campus from Oklahoma
  • Supporting the Myaamia Center's various efforts

In general, this position seeks to intentionally plan and monitor the University's activities that involve the Miami Tribe to both ensure they are educational and reflect the University's close partnership with the Tribe and to seek ways to develop new programming that can enhance both the Tribe's and the University's communities.


The Director of Miami Tribe Relations provides support for Myaamia students before, during, and after they attend Miami University:

  • Communicating with potential Miami Tribal student applicants (and their family members) to address application needs/questions and direct them to unique opportunities and resources (e.g., Bridges Program, Heritage Award Program).
  • Supporting Myaamia students once they become enrolled at Miami by offering developmental support and encouragement through one-on-one meetings, monitoring of grades, and advising students through typical student development stages.
  • Working to enhance each Myaamia student’s individual experience with the goal of helping them succeed academically and graduate from Miami University.

Opportunities to Connect

Students, faculty, and staff are encouraged to become better informed about the history of the relationship that exists and to explore making current connections. Anyone interested in more information about the Miami Tribe or associating with them should contact Kara Strass, Director of Miami Tribe Relations.

Subscribe to the Myaamia Center Newsletter